Tom Lichtenheld's Reviews > Following Ezra: What One Father Learned About Gumby, Otters, Autism, and Love From His Extraordinary Son

Following Ezra by Tom Fields-Meyer
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Oct 17, 11

Read in October, 2011

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). Ezra's autism, and the author's approach to it, have a lot to teach all of us. For example, it made me realize that The Social Contract, which allows us to live together in relative harmony, is a dauntingly complex and contradictory arrangement when seen through the eyes of a literalist. It made me appreciate Judaism for it's emphasis on memory, community and healing a broken world. And it made me realize that we're all a bit autistic - it's just a matter of degree. But, most importantly, it made me realize the healing power of patience, creativity, family and community. So, don't read it because it's a story about autism. Read it because it's a well-crafted, moving story, period. As full of humor, insight and drama as any fiction, but with the authenticity of truth.
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