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Don't Blink: What the Little Boy Nobody Expected to Live Is Teaching the World about Life Hardcover – September 6, 2016
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Unfortunately, you won't find any of this in the book. What you will find is a complete regurgitation of the Jaxon Strong Facebook page, sprinkled with bible verses. The book isn't really about Jaxon as a child. It's about Jaxon the "inspiration." I see what they were going for here. But it didn't work for me.
The pro-life theme is very strong in this book. Ironically, I myself am pro-life. But the authors take it too far. They actually pass judgement on a man who was paralyzed from the neck down from a motorcycle accident. He's on a ventilator, and he had to sue to get the ventilator removed so he could just pass. The authors show very little empathy for this guy. Instead, they just throw out a bunch of overused cliches about staying positive in life, mixed in with some bible verses about how the man should want to live.
The book has no depth or rawness. Maybe that's what some readers are looking for. But it just wasn't for me.
I'm obviously not too religious but I don't mind others sharing their spiritual beliefs, but this book doesn't really share anything new or educational about the child or his unique situation. It's actually rather pathetic - the fact that it took raising a child with profound disabilities to teach his dad not to laugh at old men on treadmills or judge other strangers so quickly. I didn't enjoy it at all. Sorry. I wish it was better.
If you are in search of life lessons with a Christian theme, time-tested authors like Norman Vincent Peale and Zig Ziglar can't be topped. I'm not sure why a pair of millennials, whose only life experience seems to be parents of an 18-month-old, would feel qualified to write a self-help book.
One way that the book disappoints is that the lessons are not at all thought-provoking. Most of us learn to keep a positive attitude, seek out support when needed, and celebrate everyday victories from our own life experiences as we mature. These are not Earth-shattering lessons revealed solely to the parents of "Jaxon Strong."
Another disappointment, already pointed out by others, is that there is nothing revealed about the intricacies of raising a child with special needs. Most anecdotes shared in the book are already out their on their Facebook page (like the time Jaxon pooped in the tub -- you may recall that one). If you are not familiar with Jaxon, you can access their public Facebook page and watch their videos without even signing up for an account.
So why did they write this book?
It appears mainly to be a vehicle for their anti-choice propaganda, with Jaxon as their unwitting mascot. When I say "anti-choice," I'm not just talking about reproduction. The Buells relate a story about an injured motorcyclist, paralyzed from the neck down, who had to petition the court to have his ventilator removed. The Buells instruct us that, "People who feel that they lack a certain quality of life ought to seek help for their lives, not their deaths."
Wow. Here is a man who exercised his autonomy and made what he felt was the best decision for HIS LIFE. Yet, just a few pages later, the Buells express how surprised they are by people who have "strong opinions" about decisions made on Jaxon's behalf, or whether his actions are voluntary or involuntary, "even though they don't have medical training." The Buells apparently expect everyone to have a level of expertise. Well, do you have medical training, Buells? Were you personally acquainted with that motorcyclist, or his condition? Did you visit him in the hospital? Did you see his medical records? Are you hypocritical much?
The biggest disappointment is on the last page, where they reveal that someday, you too will be thrown one of life's curveballs (wow, really?). "When that time comes, we hope you'll be able to find inspiration from Jaxon's life."
Yes, that's right. Little Jaxon has no say in the matter. According to his parents, he has no personhood; he is merely an object for you to look at and feel good about yourself; a tool for your betterment. And that is not just disappointing; it's downright sad.
Although I bought a Kindle-exemplar of the book, my review seems no longer to be visible. Why? Are the Buells now already starting to influence FB too, and delete all comments that are not in theif favour?
Maybe I'm too cynical, but instead of being inspired, I feel as if the Buells wrote this book simply for the money and nothing more.