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Following Ezra: What One Father Learned about Gumby, Otters, Autism, and Love from His Extraordinary Son
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Following Ezra: What One Father Learned about Gumby, Otters, Autism, and Love from His Extraordinary Son

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  424 ratings  ·  66 reviews
A heartwarming and hopeful memoir of a father's experience raising his autistic son.

When his son Ezra was diagnosed with autism, Tom Fields-Meyer knew little about parenting and even less about neurological disorders. This intimate memoir chronicles his remarkable experiences of learning and growth from the time Ezra was diagnosed at age three to his bar mitzvah at thirtee
ebook, 256 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by New American Library
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Tom Lichtenheld
First, full disclosure. I am acquainted with the author and his son, having worked with them on a publishing project. I expected to enjoy the book in part because of our acquaintance, but very soon realized that our association was irrelevant; I was riveted to the book just as much as if I'd picked it up at random, because it's a beautifully-written story with a powerfully universal message. It doesn't matter if you don't know anyone with autism (I don't), or don't even have children (I don't). ...more
Gayle Cole
Following Ezra is an important book about raising a child who has autism. Not any child, not all children, not the full spectrum of kids, but one boy named Ezra. In my opinion, it does not presume to be more, to get political or to speak for anyone, though in many passages I find it telling my own feelings and experiences. It purely resonates. The book is full of simplicity and love, and I treasure that about it.

My favorite part of the book:
When Ezra says, "You are proud of me." My solar plexus
Scottsdale Public Library
I found this book refreshing. Too often, it seems, there are books about parents, their children, and unrealized expectations. Those expectations end up crippling relationships and the books subsequently written about them express the journey of repairing those wounds and healing those grievances. This book veers completely from that course, similarly to the development of the titular child. When the author and his wife discover that their son, Ezra, has autism, the father describes how he has n ...more
After two years of occupational therapy my son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder two weeks ago. I wasn't surprised, but I've still had a hard time breathing, a hard time saying the word, a hard time knowing exactly how we were going to move forward. This book might not tell me how exactly to get my son to take his socks off or how to get him to accept a bowl of oatmeal sitting on the table, but it did show me that we have all we need: love, patience, acceptance. Ezra's autism is in man ...more
loved it. a touching father's tale of family life with their autistic middle son. Moments of clarity and humor intwined with the reality of never knowing what the moment really holds and never knowing what to expect. Well written. Easy quick read.
While this book is definitely written from a neurotypical viewpoint, it is fearlessly and unapologetically positive about the experience of raising an autistic child, and I love it for that. For all that the author struggles to understand the way his son's mind works, however, I can't help but think how lucky he is that Ezra is so very verbal and expressive, compared to many of the children I work with. His father may be bewildered at why certain things that send his child into a screaming meltd ...more
Skipper Ritchotte
Written lovingly by the father of an autistic child, Following Ezra is a quick and excellent read. Anyone wanting to know what it's like living with an autistic child ought to read this; the stories are fantastically done. But it's probably most useful and edifying for those families in the thick of it. Especially illuminating were the chapters describing the careening descent into autism after age three (which was the age when we noticed things not-usual in our own son) and the diagnosis, and h ...more
What a wonderful book. Highly recommended. I have read several books on autism, but this was by far the most poignant. I knew the author when I was in high school, although not well. This revealed a side to him that I did not expect and was pleasantly surprised by the caring, loving nature of his relationship with his son.

Who should read this? Well, quite frankly, I'd put it any parent's reading list, not just parents of children with autism. I think we could all learn a lot from Tom in how he
I thought this book was okay, it was a little slow and often hard to finish, but I really related with a lot of the passages and below are some of my favorites:

Life rarely goes according to plan, and too often we try to control situations that are beyond our control.
The things we least plan for can become our greatest treasures.

Like many parents, I saw my son’s challenges as something to get past so that my family and I could get on with our lives. I eventually learned that this IS life; this is
I found this book refreshing. Too often, it seems, there are books about parents, their children, and unrealized expectations. Those expectations end up crippling relationships and the books subsequently written about them express the journey of repairing those wounds and healing those grievances. This book veers completely from that course, similarly to the development of the titular child. When the author and his wife discover that their son, Ezra, has autism, the father describes how he has n ...more
OK, I admit, I picked up this book from the library because I have a son named Ezra, and he lines up and sorts dinosaurs just like the author's Ezra. Although my son hasn't been diagnosed with autism, he does have social troubles and has many of the same behaviors that that the author's son has.

I found this book enjoyable because it was so upbeat about raising an autistic child. I especially loved Ezra's bar mitzvah speech. It is not a how-to book, or a practical guide, and doesn't go into much
Laura Cheifetz
I know a couple of friends/family on the spectrum, so I figured I should be reading up. I picked up two copies of this book, one for friends and one for myself. I love this. It is whimsical, gently written, informative without being heavy-handed. Of course, there are many forms that autism takes, but this is a lovely glimpse into one family's journey with autism.

There are plenty of moments where I teared up, but I loved this in the last chapter. (Ezra's manifestations at the age of this story m
This memoir by a Jewish father about his autistic son and the rest of their family wouldn't seem to be in my wheelhouse, since I’m a non-Jewish non-parent who doesn't have any relatives with autism, but I loved it. It was entertaining and funny and touching.
Karis North
Loving, irreverent, incredibly patient memoir of a Dad and his young autistic son, from the discovery through his bar mitzvah. I loved it, and laughed out loud throughout, until the end where you will well up with emotion. Quick easy read, too.
Bobbie Mission Viejo
A very interestng look at a family with a child with autism. This book teaches, is enlightening, hopeful and very honest. I would recommend it to anyone who deals with children in some capacity.
Loved this book, I read it in under 24 hours. Hearing Ezra's story told by Tom is inspirational and shows what great Parents Shawn & Tom really are.
Brian Walker
I was up till early AM, nearly in tears, finishing Following Ezra by Tom Fields-Meyer. The memoir begins with the proclamation from a therapist that Tom needs to grieve for the son he will not have so he can accept the son he has. The advice is rejected and the remainder of the book is spent celebrating the son Fields-Meyer does have. The ordering of the events is more thematic as the book skips around sequentially to reveal some progresses made, some delays in development, and the growth of the ...more
I really enjoyed this one because of the way Mr. Fields-Meyer determines early on that he will love Ezra for just who he is, and never apologizes for it. Ezra sounds like a challenge but also a delight. The writing is very good and easy to follow and contains a description that really resonated and made me laugh: the one where Ezra is at the zoo and cuts in front of this huffy man who says something like, "Well, you could have said 'Excuse me'!" and of course Ezra takes no notice of this guy and ...more
Chris Kawakita
As someone who has encountered autism within our family, I take a particular interest in books on the subject. I’ve read parts of the book by John Elder Robinson—brother of memoirist Augusten Burroughs—about his experiences growing up with Asperger syndrome, which is an autism spectrum disorder. Recently, my mom has brought to my attention a new book I’m eager to get my claws/eyes on called The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better ...more
Susan Garson

You know when you find a book and you can't put it down? Following Ezra is one of those for me.
The love that Tom Fields-Meyer and his wife, Shawn have for Ezra just oozes out of the pages.
The journey that they take once they find out that Ezra has autism, is painful of course, but they handle it with so much courage and unconditional love, and never once express,"why me?" for one moment.
Surprisingly, there is humor in the reality of the situation, which one would not expect.

At this time, I have
Kelsey Prosser
I thoroughly recommend this book for EVERYONE. Whether or not you know someone touched by autism, there are lessons abound in this book. This is a beautiful, heartbreaking, heartwarming, and, at times, humorous story of a father learning to understand a son who seems unreachable. His success comes through a refusal to look at his son the way everyone else does, and an unwillingness to place limitations on his son's life because of his "diagnosis".
The lesson for all of us is to try to view every
Scott Condie
Following Ezra is the story of a father and mother raising Ezra, an endearingly complex boy with autism. The book covers approximately a ten year period in Ezra's life and focuses on the challenges that his parents face in trying to understand Ezra and on helping Ezra understand the world he lives in.

This book is excellent in a way that the literature dealing with autism has largely lacked to this point. It doesn't have an agenda other than espousing the value of seeing Ezra, and other children
Heidi Maricle
I literally could not put this book down--I read it cover to cover in one day. It is a window into life with an autistic child and the perspective of love and joy from a Father towards his son. I loved the writing, I loved the story, but most of all, I loved the viewpoint of the father towards his child. Its summed up in this quote:
(after a therapist had told him that he needed to grieve for this child he didn't turn out to be.) "I feel full of love--for the boy who lines up the dinosaurs on th
I loved this story, not because it was particularly well written (there are some chronology issues that bugged me at times, but the way it's written is not chronological, so I got over it) but because it's a story about a wonderful family with a child that will face struggles the rest of his life, and how the family as a whole adjusted for Ezra's needs. It brings awareness to others who haven't experienced parenting a child with special needs. I found myself smiling so many times at the situatio ...more
One father's approach to adapting to parenting of a child with autism. Interesting and eye-opening read. Ezra's mom is a rabbi, and I especially enjoyed how they explained Shabbat to him.
Francesca Curti
A really great read for anyone who is interested in Autism, or has someone related to them that has the disability. It is truly a great book that will put a smile on your face :-)
Donna DeBoer
Great book! I learned so much about autism and the many differences each child would have. The love Tom has for Ezra is evident throughout and I really felt for him and the day to day struggles. I would love to read about Ezra again as he becomes a man!
Evanston Public  Library
When author Tom Fields-Meyer was told by a therapist that his son Ezra was showing signs of autism he was told he needed to grieve. "For what?" he asked. The answer, "For the child he didn't turn out to be." Fields-Meyer did not grieve; he instead embraced his son for who he was, working tirelessly to find ways to connect to what was important to his child. Following Ezra is Fields-Meyer's gift to his middle child, a narrative of the journey from when Ezra is first diagnosed in preschool until t ...more
These are the kinds of stories I think everyone should read. Too often I feel that people are trying to find ways to "deal" or "cope" with their families mental or developmental restrictions, when in fact we should be learning ways to help that person to flourish. We should be loving them for who they are, not trying to make them into something they simply are not.

Following Ezra is a delightful story of the special love between a father and his son, a great read to remind yourself not to take t
I read this book in a day because it was that good (and also very short). I felt Fields-Meyer had a amazing ability to decipher his son's reasoning, methodology, and struggles as a young boy with Autism. I admired his willingness to embrace his son's obsessions as a means to communicate and connect with his mysterious little boy. I felt inspired to work harder at finding ways to connect with my daughter on her terms and to be better at trying to understand how she relates to the world. A great r ...more
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