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

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,026 Ratings  ·  182 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 Bilater
Hardcover, 273 pages
Published February 19th 2008 by St. Martin's Press
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Rating details
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Julie Rummel-hudson
Feb 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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!
Jun 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Catie Currie
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I believe that Robert did a wonderful job of drawing the reader in with his humor and down to earth take on life. He enabled the reader to feel his pain and understand the struggle of having a nonverbal child, but without making it a gloomy read. It is certainly pessimistic, but in a funny, sarcastic way that allows the reader to see occasionally see glimpses the love, hope, and struggle in Robert’s mind. Additionally, he is a wonderful writer and has crammed the book full of wonderful quotes ab ...more
Jan 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Jun 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009, non-fiction
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
Jul 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: families
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
Apr 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Kara Thomas
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 29, 2017 rated it liked it
This book wasn't what I expecting at all, it surprised me more than anything. It leads you from the birth of Schuyler up to the age of 7. And what we get is the uphill battle that this family has faced in getting an 'actual diagnosis' of Bilateral Perisylvian Polimicrogyria to then fighting for her to have a way to communicate. I'm shocked that this proved to be so difficult and they had to be persistent in order to get the aids that Schuyler needed.
I enjoyed learning about Schuyler's perseveran
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
The author writes this story about his daughter who has a congenital brain abnormality that robs her of speech. It details the struggles of finding a diagnosis, strategies to help her communicate and the stress in dealing with the special education system. Above all it is a story of a father’s love. It is told with sarcasm, wit and outright humor and the reader shares in the joy when they find a school where she is understood and thrives.
Stephen Gallup
Dec 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. From a soon to be speech-language pathologist perspective it fascinated me and enlightened me. From a humanistic perspective, this book is everything anyone could ask for. I cried, laughed, felt anger, and hope and I'm glad I was introduced into the world of this little monster-slayer. It reaffirmed my faith in my chosen field of work.
Stevie Causey
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"It was the rest of my life, this love. I would never have the option of choosing whether or not this was a relationship that worked for me. I was Schuyler's prisoner now, and it was in that captivity that I had achieved my life's joy."

As the mother to a child with SN this book changed me so profoundly. It was beautiful and terrible and raw and wonderful and all-encompassing. It was both a reflection and an escape. Highly recommended!
Jun 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 14, 2014 rated it liked it
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
May 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
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 "
Mar 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
"Communication is the most fundamental of human capacities. People need to be able to communicate to fulfill their social, educational, emotional and vocational potential."
- From the International Communication Project (http://www.internationalcommunication...)

What a journey of ups and downs this family has had. I applaud them for advocating for and challenging their daughter in the face of an education system that was unfortunately not easy no navigate. They made some big decisions about their
Aug 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katie Rose Sorensen
Aug 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Shannon Arehart
Oct 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: autobiography
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
Mar 15, 2013 rated it liked it
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
May 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
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
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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

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