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Ghost Boy Hardcover – 7 Jul 2011
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Ghost Boy Compelling, brilliantly written memoir of a young man who emerged from the darkness of being locked into his body after doctors had given up on him Full description
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I have now finished it and there are still so many unanswered questions. Martin is now performing complex movements with his hands and feet, and has control of his facial expressions and swallowing, yet remains totally mute. WHY? What is the medical take on this? Does he have damage to his vocal cords or brain lesions on MRI? Is he attending a neurology clinic or speech therapy? Is he able to grunt? He does not elaborate on any of this, and I have so far not been able to find any medical discussion of his case on the internet.
I would also be interested to know what prompted his sudden withdrawal from life at age twelve, and his claimed amnesia for his past, despite the fact that his brain could evidently recall the alphabet and how to use computers. There is clearly a psychogenic component to all this.
In 1988 aged 12 Martin became ill with a disease that no one could diagnose nor cure nor even delay as it totally shut down his entire body and higher brain. In a few months he was wheelchair bound and unable to interact with the world in anyway. He was not expected to live.
What nobody was aware of was that at some point along the way Martin's mind started to awaken once more, leaving him aware but trapped inside an unresponsive shell of a body.
Amazingly some 10 years later, a visiting aromatherapist felt that Martin was, at some level, aware and responsive. Despite the experts original dismissive attitude, Martin's parents strove to have him assessed. It soon began to become clear that inside this non-functioning body was a mind as intelligent and alert as it had once been.
Martin's abilities and desire to communicate with the world around him along with his parent's beliefs in him helped him forge his way back from the dark world in habited as a ghost boy and to emerge once more into the light of a life where he could learn, teach, travel, meet, fall in love with and ultimately marry the woman who had fallen in love with him too.
This book is truly amazing; not simply because of the subject matter of Martin's life but for all the nuances - some dark, some light - which pepper the fabric of his story.
A soul lifting story of a struggle, the type of which none of us can ever truly understand for ourselves.
A five star read.
I have this book in paperback. It is mostly text only with just five images of Martin as a young child, later in life and then finally on his wedding day.
I defy anyone to read this book without shedding a tear.
This is an autobiogaphy written by Martin Pitorius. Martin was born and brought up in South Africa and was a normal active boy - until he was struck down with a mysterious illness in 1988 when he was 12 years old, which began ony with a sore throat. He became more and more unwell untll he had lost the ability to move or communicate, and though his parents took him to many specialists no cause or cure could be found.
Martin therefore ended up in a practicaly vegatative state, but his parents refused to give up on him, with his father insisting that Martin still lived at home, though he would be in Day Centres and then in residential care when his father had to travel on business. His mother found the situation almost impossible, and after years of trying to get help for Martin she devoted herself to her other two children.
Martin does not remember any of his happy childhood, and he calls himself the 'Ghost Boy' as that is how he saw himself. It was only when he was about 16 years of age and was spending his days at care centres for the disabled that awareness gradually began to return to Martin's consciousness. However this was with a realisation that he could not speak or move, and could therefore not convey to those who cared for him, or to his parents, that he was now actually conscious inside his own body and was well aware of what was happening to him.
During this time Martin would suffer abuse and mistreatment, when 'carers' would abuse him as they did not realise he was aware all the time.
His situation is unimaginable to us, and often Martin retreated within himself and would escape by using his imagination - the only way be could disassociate himself from the things that were happening to him.
Martin calls himself the Ghost Boy as during those terrible years he was able to see and hear what was going on around him but could not make his presence felt or show that he was actually 'there'.
Martin's return to the world came when an aromathrapist gradually noticed that Martin seemed to be making facial expresions in answer to questions. Through many tests it was found that Martin could communicate via a specially designed computer.
To cut a long story short Martin actualy began living. Althoguh confined to a wheelchair be began having part time jobs and givig talks on hsi comunication system.
Martin's sister Kim had moved to the UK and Martin began chatting over the computer with a friend of hers. This disance romance blossomed and Martin visited her and she then returned to South Africa where she was also from. Martin proposed and the book ends when they get married.
This is such a touching story that one cannot fail to be moved, From Martin's parents love of their son and determination to help him as much as possible to the years of torment Martin endured while locked silently within his body.
However the blossoming of the story is the love that develops between Martin and Joanna. Joanna falls deeply in love with Martin, although he still cannot speak and has to use a wheelchair.
This is a love story in the truest sense when you see how Joanna fell in love with Martin over the internet and their love grew.
This is proof that love means more than the superficial qualities of looks etc.
This book should make anyone who is feeling sorry for themselves take another look at their lives.
May they have a long and happy life together.
---Would I Recommend?---
"It is a deeply affecting and at times shocking book... The Diving Bell and The Butterfly but with a happy ending"
The Sunday Times, 17 July 2011
"[Pistorius's] levels of empathy are remarkable, perhaps because he was forced for so many years into the role of watcher and listener, hearing people unburden their problems around him, absorbing their pain without them knowing... [his] communication is strikingly direct, almost fearless in the way he confronts emotional reality."
Catherine Deveney, Scotland on Sunday
"Martin tells the story of his remarkable recovery--and how he eventually came to find love, a home and a job... Now in a deeply moving - and ultimately uplifting - new book, Martin Pistorius tells the amazing story of life as The Ghost Boy. "
The Irish Mail
From being completely immobilised and mute from the age of twelve due to a mystery illness Martin slowly regains his consciousness and learns to communicate via computers and word boards. Still unable to speak and confined to a wheelchair - by his 30s Martin has found true love and gets married - a truly inspiring story. If ever we feel sorry for ourselves we should think of how Martin coped.
Summary: Inspiring story of man's resiliance and strength of character - a true love story
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Most recent customer reviews
Couldn't put it down.
Hard to imagine to be imprisoned in your own body and then managing to turn your life round completely.