Ghost Boy

  • by Martin Pistorius
  • Narrated by Simon Bubb
  • 7 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Audie Award, Autobiography/Memoir, 2016
They all thought he was gone. But he was alive and trapped inside his own body for 10 years.
In January 1988 Martin Pistorius, aged 12, fell inexplicably sick. First he lost his voice and stopped eating. Then he slept constantly and shunned human contact. Doctors were mystified. Within 18 months he was mute and wheelchair bound. Martin's parents were told an unknown degenerative disease left him with the mind of a baby and fewer than two years to live.
Martin was moved to care centers for severely disabled children. The stress and heartache shook his parents' marriage and their family to the core. Their boy was gone. Or so they thought.
Ghost Boy is the heart-wrenching story of one boy's return to life through the power of love and faith. In these pages readers see a parent's resilience, the consequences of misdiagnosis, abuse at the hands of cruel caretakers, and the unthinkable duration of Martin's mental alertness betrayed by his lifeless body.
We also see a life reclaimed - a business created, a new love kindled - all from a wheelchair. Martin's emergence from his darkness invites us to celebrate our own lives and fight for better lives for others.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Very Interesting to me personally

I am the mother of a child with autism who was unable to communicate something even as basic as yes or no until he was 7 years old. Once he was able to communicate I discovered that he already knew how to read and knew so many more things than I could have imagined. I was thrilled to find a book telling the story of learning to communicate from that person's point of view. I was also very interested in his experiences with assistive communication devices. For these reasons, I may have liked this book more than someone similar to me in tastes but without my experiences would have. I was particularly interested for obvious reasons, in Martin's relationship with his parents, particularly his mother. Martin is an amazingly insightful, mature and forgiving person and I felt a lot of powerful emotion while reading this. The most powerful moment of the book to me takes place when Martin has regained his awareness and his family has no idea and his mother is weeping on the floor after fighting with his father about him and he is feeling so bad for her and she says to him that he needs to die. I could have died just reading that. I understood where he feelings came from but his reaction ripped at my heartstrings. Instead of hating her and being angry he is wishing that he just could die. So amazing. His attitude towards his mother was of great interest to me throughout the book. I thought he showed amazing understanding in his forgiveness of her and in his understanding that she'll probably never truly forgive herself. Clearly, I really liked this book. I am not giving it 5 stars simply because I found the ending parts much less powerful and they dragged for me. The end of the book details Martin's relationship with his wife - ending with their wedding. Clearly to him this is the most important part for him. However, and I almost feel guilty making this criticism, I would have found their love story more powerful if he weren't so determined to be in love with someone. If he hadn't mentioned how ready he was and how various other women he'd met had disappointed him when he wanted to fall in love with them. The book is very upbeat and ends happily. I should mention though that there is one chapter which details abuse Martin suffered in care situations. For anyone who deals with disabled people, this chapter is not a surprise, it is a sad fact. He does not dwell on it but people should be aware that this information is there.
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- Karen "Likes: Cozy mysteries (cats a plus), personal memoirs,not too dark fantasy, books about the brain. Dislikes: Torture, animal cruelty."

Emerging From Darkness

This isn't a perfect book, but it certainly is a perfect experience. You loved seeing past the pain and terror of mental illness to the true genius that "A Beautiful Mind" portrayed? How about the beauty, the lyricism that came with "My Left Foot?" "Ghost Boy" comes from those depths, reaches those stellar heights, and you'll probably, if you have even a single sensitive bone in your body, cry before you've finished listening to this book.
What I love about this book is that Martin is by no means bitter, despite having every right to be. The years he's lost, the illness/debilitation, the abuse he's suffered—he'd have every right to hold on to these horrible, horrible things that have happened to him. Instead, he approaches every thing, every day as though he's breathing a hope and a prayer. This is not a negative, downer of a book and Pistorius is an extraordinary human being.
Years ago I worked with a severely-disturbed teen-aged girl with multiple impairments, no vision, and no language. Sometimes through the day and night, she'd jab her chest hard with her finger, over and over, while tiny tears trickled down her face, and of course, she had no words to go with this. I always wondered if she was feeling, or trying to say something like, "Me. I'm here." I'd hug her, but she'd still keep jabbing, still keep crying, and I'd wonder.
Now, after reading this amazing, funny, inspiring book by Mr. Pistorius, I feel like I can close my eyes and at least send out a little prayer to that girl (No, now a woman), and say, "Yes. You're here."
Thanks for the book, Martin
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- Gillian "SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-19-2015
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers