- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 edition (April 27, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061136670
- ISBN-13: 978-0061136672
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 37 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #674,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Boy Alone: A Brother's Memoir Paperback – April 27, 2010
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From the Back Cover
Karl Taro Greenfeld knew from an early age that his little brother, Noah, was not like other children. He was unable to communicate verbally or tie his shoes, and despite his angelic demeanor was prone to violent outbursts. No doctor, social worker, or specialist could pinpoint what was wrong with Noah beyond a general diagnosis: autism. The boys' parents dedicated their lives to caring for their younger son—a challenging, often painful experience that their father detailed in a bestselling trilogy of books.
Boy Alone is Karl Taro Greenfeld's unforgettable memoir of growing up in Noah's shadow, revealing the complex mix of rage, confusion, and love that defined the author's childhood—a beautiful, haunting, and wholly original exploration of what it means to be a family, a brother, a person.
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Top customer reviews
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His obvious natural talent as a writer and story-teller made this book (while addressing a difficult and sad subject) a pleasure to read.
Wish more books were published by authors as creative and gifted as Karl Greenfield!
I don't understand some of the negative reviews here, but they seem to be from people who have personally experienced having an autistic family member and are unhappy Karl's very personal experience did not dovetail with their own.
Boy Alone is an amazing glimpse into the world of the 'other' brother, the one who is not 'special', the one who stands along side the autistic brother he loves/hates. Though Karl never descends into self pity in these pages, I found myself feeling for the boy who had never spent time in the spotlight of his parents' attention. Sure, it's easy to see Karl knew he was loved, but he also seems to have known that he wasn't ever going to get the attention every child yearns for from his parents. Noah was always in the way.
Even though I finally got the book I'd been waiting for, I didn't get the ending I'd been hoping for. No one did. I question the author's choice in the last third of his book. One wonders why he played out Noah's life the way he did only to pull the rug out and force the reader (me!) to face the cruel reality of Noah's actual life. I don't know if I can forgive Karl for that little literary trick.
I'm not looking for another Noah book. It's all been said, all too painfully, but I thank Karl Greenfeld for writing this one. It was heart wrenching but very well written, very good.
Now, having finished the book, I am still amazed at the parents of Noah and Karl, their amazing strength and will to find resources at a time when the state institution was the most common choice.
It was also interesting to hear of Noah's journey through the system and what his adult life looks like. Karl is equally honest about his own journey: through drugs and anger and teen angst to a life as a writer, with a family of his own. His relationship to Noah continually baffles him.
There was one part of the book I disliked immensely, but I do not want to throw in a spoiler. I think the language in that part could have been couched differently.
Definitely a good read for all who wonder about the miracle cures touted in books and television interviews.