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Schuyler's Monster: A Father's Journey with His Wordless Daughter

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  798 ratings  ·  165 reviews
Schuyler’s Monster is an honest, funny, and heart-wrenching story of a family, and particularly a little girl, who won't give up when faced with a monster that steals her voice but can’t crush her spirit.
When Schuyler was 18 months old, a question about her lack of speech by her pediatrician set in motion a journey that continues today. When she was diagnosed with Bilatera
ebook, 288 pages
Published February 19th 2008 by St. Martin's Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,735)
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Julie Rummel-hudson
Everyone must read this book. Not just because it's about my daughter and husband, but it's an excellent read. Robert is a fantastic writer. His writing is warm and inviting and makes you feel like you are talking to him face to face. Enjoy!
Mar 29, 2008 Gin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone, especially those who work with children
I've resisted buying this book until now because I've followed the author's blog for nearly 10 years. But I didn't resist because I knew the story. Instead, I was afraid in the editing, the author's voice would be lost. It wasn't. Rob is there with his quirky, twisted mind still intact, and so is his deep love for his daughter. Excellent book. Well written and a good read.
I was surprised by a few things in things in this book; first that the author didn't commemorate his daughters first words, and second that an agnostic could find belief in God if only to lay blame.

In a book with the purpose of documenting the author's daughters wordless journey through life, one would expect a thorough documentation of his daughters first words. I was disappointed that he could remember in great detail other experiences but glosses over Schuyler's first words by lumping a few o
People pick up this book and expect it to be a warm, fluffy memoir about a father's love for his daughter. And it is, don't get me wrong, but it's also a humane look at how people's lives are sometimes turned upside-down by having a "special-needs" child.

I first heard of this book from my mother, who had bought it and read it and continued to follow Rob's blog. I even teased my mother that I think she loved Schuyler more than she loved me and that made her say, "... well, actually, she's kinda l
Bev Sykes
A lot of people have been waiting for this book for a long time, and thank goodness it was well worth the wait. Many of us first encountered Schuyler either just before or shortly after her birth, through reading Rob's web site, then called "Darn Tootin'" (now called "My Beloved Monster andMe"). We watched as Rob and Julie struggled with growing awareness that Schuyler's slowness to talk was more than just slowness. We cried with them as they learned of her "monster," Congenital Bilateral Perisy ...more
I just started this book a couple of days ago. My wonderful sister-in-law let me borrow it. I am really enjoying it so far. disorders fasinate me. I know that is weird and possibly sad. but I find it interesting. I can't imagine what is that must be like is have a "special needs" child. I know Rob (the author) does not like that title. I will update you with more when I am finished.

ok so I finished. It was wonderful..the child, the parents, the teachers in the Plano ISD, and the love the dad ha
I am on page 221 of 273. you might like (or hate) this book if you are a speech pathologist..................which you likely are not, but you might like it anyways. it's about a families quest to find out why their daughter doesn't speak and then about the uphill struggle with the school district to get her an appropriate augmenative/ alternative communication device. it gives a really good look at the perspective of a parent of a child with a disability. It makes me wonder how certain people i ...more
Kara Thomas
Jan 21, 2013 Kara Thomas rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Parents, People interested in learning more about special needs children
Recommended to Kara by: Katz Nancy from NJ
It isn't very often that I give a book 5 stars, but this book really connected with my heart. As the mother of a son, who has his speech questioned countless times, I thought I might have some what of an understanding of these people were going through. How wrong I was. I don't think that I could even imagine what a challenge that they were presented and continue to fight through. I am so amazed by the honesty of this story that I will recommend it to other's to read. He doesn't pull any punches ...more
This book caught me by surprise -- I picked it up from the library during a dry spell and ended up reading it one sitting. The author has a likable, quirky style, the story is compelling, but I found the most fascinating aspect to be the technology that comes to the rescue when things are most desperate. 25 years ago, this smart, funny little girl would have been out of luck, but today, thanks to an unseen army of scientists and computer geeks, and of course, her stubborn parents insisting on ob ...more
A lot of people have been waiting for this book for a long time, and thank goodness it was well worth the wait. Many of us first encountered Schuyler either just before or shortly after her birth, through reading Rob's web site, then called "Darn Tootin'" (now called "My Beloved Monster and Me"). We watched as Rob and Julie struggled with growing awareness that Schuyler's slowness to talk was more than just slowness. We cried with them as they learned of her "monster," Congenital Bilateral Peris ...more
The first quarter of the book would have been more aptly named "Schuyler's Dad" because it describes in great detail his trombone playing skills and many of the experiences he had prior to becoming a father. That would have been interesting had it had any relevance to the book about his daughter's handicap and how she and her family manage to tame it. Once he gets to Schuyler the book gets much better. His love for his daughter really shines through and despite her "monster" Schuyler is a lucky ...more
This is the account of the Rummel-Hudson family’s journey to identify and tame (for lack of a better descriptor) their daughter Schuyler’s “monster.” Schuyler is a beautiful, happy child with a bubbly personality. Only when her pediatrician begins to question her speech (or lack thereof) do her parents realize something is lurking beneath the surface. After much evaluation, it is discovered that Schuyler has an extremely rare disorder of the brain that impacts her ability to speak. I rarely read ...more
I don't know what I can say about this book that would really do it justice. Rob (who I was lucky enough to meet last summer and now consider a friend), is funny, extremely self-deprecating, and very honest. His personality shines through very clearly in his writing and makes this wild story feel very relatable.

Schuyler has very different struggles than my own children, but I found myself nodding furiously at many points throughout the book. I was glad to learn more about this mysterious conditi
Katie Sorensen
I loved this book for several reasons:

1. I don't read much nonfiction, and sometimes I forget that real life can be as interesting as made-up stories. This book was written by an everyday man, a father, about his experiences with his daughter who was diagnosed with a rare brain malformation. This family's story is incredible!

2. I like how it showed a real depiction of public schools' special education programs. Schools don't think about the parent's side as often as they should, and this book wo
This book was an extremely personal read for me. I have a special needs child who has some issues that are very similar to Schuyler's. Suffice it to say, I spent most of the book relating to the Rummel-Hudsons in an intense way. If you have a special needs child, especially one that is of pre-school age, this is a must-read. This family's experiences with well-meaning doctors and educators is an excellent prep for what you will experience. More importantly, it is an affirmation of the faith you ...more
Apr 09, 2008 Sandra rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone.
Shelves: non-fiction
I must confess that this book wasn't even on my radar until I went to a book-signing in Plano featuring my author-friend, Karen Harrington ("Janeology"), at which Rob, Julie and Schuyler were present. No lie: I was immediately and unguardedly taken by Schuyler. Then I learned about her Monster. There is something in her eyes, her face, that reveals that there are so many facets beyond her wordlessness. I can almost feel the vibrations from what she wants to transmit, to divulge. But she's okay w ...more
Robert Rummel-Hudson does a great job describing what it is to be an early parent. I imagine many parents are like me, wondering if their kid is ok, wondering what it means if other kids their age are doing things your kid doesn’t do. His daughter Schuyler (pronounced Skyler) seems to be the normal, happy kid, but has an undiagnosed disease, her “monster” waiting to surprise them. The monster is polymicrogyria, an very rare (only 100 cases were known at the time) brain malformation that has tota ...more
I really liked this book, especially the first half. The writer is very self depreciating, tells stories for his own entertainment and I LoL'd in several parts. Very funny, and real. The author did not gloss over his feelings of victimization and selfishness that everyone feels when faced with a difficult situation.

Our faults as well as our qualities are what make us up as individuals, the little girl in the story sounds like a beautiful,spiritual child, and the world is a better place for havi
Mar 30, 2011 Caitlin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents of a special needs child, people who know parents of a special needs child
In some ways reading this book was like staring into a mirror. Rob (I want to call the author by his first name because his narrative comes off in such a personal way it feels like I know him) talks about the shocking realization that his daughter isn't developing normally just like we did with our daughter. He talks about the crushing discouragement that comes from having no diagnosis just like we are experiencing. He describes the strange paradox of relief and dread when finally finding a name ...more
Stephen Gallup
Parent memoirs about kids with problems come out pretty regularly every year, and I've read a bunch of them. Some present a detailed picture of a hellish life in which hope never rears its head. Some tell the story of a cure (unconventional, of course--just about any time a developmentally disabled kid makes real progress it's the result of trying something unusual) and thereby incite a stampede of families seeking to emulate what was done (alas, without comparable success). Some take the attitu ...more
Shannon Arehart
I really liked this. A lot. I finished it this morning and immediately logged on to the blog so I could find out more. The words "unflinchingly honest" come to mind when I think of this book - I feel fairly certain I read that somewhere because that doesn't seem like something I'd say, but it really fits. The author tells the story of having a child and finding out something is wrong - and the long, painful journey for answers and help. He tells of their encounters with the public, with the scho ...more
i read about this in a magazine and it really reminded me of my niece who has special needs. i finally got it from my book swap and i am so glad i read it!

When Schuyler (Skylar)was 18 months old, a question about her lack of speech by her pediatrician set in motion a journey that will continue for her lifetime. She was diagnosed with an extremely rare neurological disorder caused by a malformation of the brain- a monster that had been stalking the family from doctor visit to doctor visit and thr
This memoir tells of the author's journey with his daughter, Schuyler, who is diagnosed as a toddler with bilateral perisylvian polymicrogyria, a rare neurological disorder that impacts her development in a number of ways, with the most significant being her inability to speak. The author begins his story before Schuyler's birth and continues through the early signs that something is wrong, the years of assessments and uncertainty, the pain, terror, and relief of finally learning the diagnosis, ...more
Before I review this book, you should know this: "Schuyler" is pronounced "Skylar", and she is a girl. The author (her dad) was relieved she was not a boy because the mom was going to name her something weird if she was a dude. If she was a boy, she was going to be named Jasper. Jasper is the name of my mother in law's late cat (rest his kitty soul), but it is still a better name than Schuyler. Really, it's a pretty weird name.

That said, I love Schuyler. I even liked her dad, who is super libera
If I could give half stars I would give this one 3.5 stars. I read this book as a person who has disabilities and an interest in disability studies as I am soon to be teaching special education. While there are some great points to this book and seems to be a realistic parental view of having a child with a disability there were some aspects that really seemed to irk me. To start, Schuyler's father often seemed preoccupied with his ability to be a perfect father due to his poor childhood and Sch ...more
Not since Baby Catcher have I laughed out loud like this at a sad but funny memoir. I totally dug the author's sense of humor, the pacing and readability were fluid, and boy, what a great name that kid has. :)

It was also an interesting read because of the subject matter, and Rummel-Hudson balances the amount of "doctor speak" with lots of plain and simple explanations about Schuyler's condition. The part I found most fascinating about her condition was how she can say "mmmm" and "eee" but not "
Before I say anything about the book, I want to point out that the title is the little girl's name, Schuyler, pronounced just like Skylar. Poor girl is going to have go through the rest of her life having everyone mispronounce her name! This book caught my eye because I'm interested in Augmentative Communication Devices (basically computers that help nonverbal children express themselves through preprogrammed speech) as they are used for kids with autism. Schuyler is not autistic, but she faces ...more
I picked this up to read mostly for professional reasons, but I found most of it to be a wonderful book. The first third I had to force myself to keep reading. To me it sounded like the self-indulgent blogs (written by people who are strangers to me) about fatherhood and having young children that I tend to avoid. I'm happy you fell in love with your daughter but I don't need to hear about it in that kind of detail.

Anyways, the second third of the book discusses the process of getting a diagnos
Joy Hansen
I recently got around to reading this book. I don't know why I took so long to pick it up considering I have been following the author's blog for years and have also donated some money to the family when they needed it the most. I loved how the book gave clarity to Schuyler's monster and also brought together the whole story that was told in bits and pieces through blog posts over the years. I borrowed this book from the library and had a hard time putting it down once I started reading it. The ...more
Mar 18, 2008 Allison rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone.
I found Rob's blog awhile back through link-hopping - he's friends with a lot of my friends - and I really enjoy reading his adventures with his daughter. I was very excited to read the book, and I even attended the book party in NYC and met Rob (finally).

I enjoyed the book. The pace is good, the insights are great, and Schuyler is, of course, amazing. It was also great to read the story from the beginning, which I hadn't done since the blog spans so many years. It's a very emotional story, and
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Robert Rummel-Hudson is the author of Schuyler's Monster, published by St. Martin's Press in February 2008. He and his family currently live in Plano, Texas.

His work has been featured in Good Housekeeping (February 2008) and Wondertime (March 2008). His book was reviewed in People, receiving 3.5 out of 4 stars.

More of Robert’s observations can be found on his blog, Fighting Monsters with Rubber S
More about Robert Rummel-Hudson...

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