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|Title||:||Strange Beauty: A Memoir of an Extraordinary Child|
|Number of Pages||:||165 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Strange Beauty: A Memoir of an Extraordinary Child Reviews
God never said He wouldn’t give you more than you can handle. There will be times in life when you will feel like you are drowning and there is no one to help you. However, there is always hope and your determination to follow through no matter what and that is what Eliza Factor and her husband do.In this beautifully written and poignant memoir, Eliza describes the struggles she and her husband go through trying to raise and provide a loving caring environment for their severely disabled son, Felix. Their love for Felix transcends obstacles that for many of us would have been insurmountable.Felix was born both disabled and autistic. He offers the family which eventually also includes two younger sisters joy and happiness but also gives them bouts of head banging and fits of rage in which he hits himself, draws blood often, and has seizures. The Factors run the gauntlet of seeing doctors, clinicians, psychologists, blending new age medicine as well as established practices, with a bevy of drugs in the hopes of providing Felix with quality of life. As Felix grows his instances of uncontrollable rage increase and the family, through Eliza's intense ability to search continually for answers, finds a place where Felix can thrive.As I reads through this memoir, I could not fully comprehend the sacrifices The Factors made for Felix. They tailored their family life, with the help of countless people, schools, and places for Felix to have the very best possible way of life. In this pursuit, Eliza eventually founded a community center that unites children with disabilities and their parents giving them a place to come together, to share, and to find others that face similar circumstances in the zeal to help their child have a better life.The work she is able to do, the things that she is able to accomplish with a lack of sleep always, is amazing. She is driven by an overwhelming love for her son who is charming, joyous, and endearing at times while unable to speak or function at a level we all seem to consider "normal." Eliza points to the fact that there really is little help and guidance for parents who have a severely disabled child and as much as we would like to think we provide for them we really do not. Felix is one of the lucky ones. Eliza is able to find a location for him that will provide a wonderful place for learning, growing, and feeling secure. She was fortunate in her ability to stay at home with a large number of people hired to help her with Felix. She claims she is not a good mother as often people tell her she is. However, I disagree, for in this telling memoir, we see the best of what mother can be. Thank you to NetGalley and Parallax Press for providing an advanced copy of this book.
As the mother of an Autistic child, I've read my share of books and articles on the subject, but this was the first book I've read from a mother's point of view. Granted her circumstances are very different than mine, both financially and severity of her son's disabilities, but I felt a sort of kinship with her. It is oddly comforting to know that others have the same dread at the monotonous paperwork, meetings, therapies and IEP evaluations just to get your "special needs" child help so they may be a little better off in life. One of the gifts I took away from this book was the realization that I don't have to feel guilty of my sleep deprived and frustrated thoughts about my son. I felt lighter for having read Eliza's story and to know it's ok to ask for help when you have hit your limit.I would recommend this book to anyone with a special needs child or even readers that like memoirs.
A big thanks to Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read this before publication.Oh how I loved this book! I suspect that if I waxed lyrical about what a wonderful person Eliza Factor is, that she would not agree or welcome gushing praise but her honesty and humanity shines through the pages of this book. I suffer from a purely physical disability and my eldest son suffers from ASD, ADHD and now as an adult he also has mental health diagnoses as well. How I wish I'd lived in New York and been parenting him when Eliza set up Extreme Kids and Crew! What Eliza says about just letting the kids be. No limits, no arbitrary rules, just allowing them to be their natural selves and exhibit their usual traits is so powerful and something I wish had been pointed out to me, as a young mother as being important. My son liked to run, back and forth between walls or doors and his whole childhood was made up of people telling him not to. I wish I had, had the confidence to allow him to be more of himself rather than obsessing over trying to make him copy neurotypical children. My own struggle with disability had me nodding along and sardonically laughing at the family's struggles with public transport and bureaucracy when it comes to applying for help, financial support etc. Eliza's writing style is warm, friendly and markedly honest. I know, having finished this book, that this wasn't a sugar coating, waxing lyrical about disability without mentioning the sadness, the guilt, the anger. All of those are mentioned in spades and with love and often humour. I really felt that I could feel and hear Felix and was so pleased that Eliza gave hints as to where to find a YouTube video of him and a news segment about Extreme Kids so that I could put his face to the things I already felt I knew about him. It also opened a dialogue in my head of how the American health system, something I don't envy at all, can actually in the field of disability, hold advantages over our NHS where we can't choose our specialists or request appointments without our family Dr referring us. I recommend this book to anyone, but for those whose life is affected by disability in any way I think it is a must read.
As a precursor, I chose this book because I have an autistic child. The thing that struck me about this book and about this story is that there are connections that transcend culture, geography, and any other demographic factor you can throw out there. This author writes from a context completely different from my own. Her family lives in an urban area and have beliefs and values that contradict my own. However, in her son's story we are connected. Not in particulars, but in the basic everyday struggle and stress of parenting a special needs child. It is a struggle that you cannot explain. Much like a soldier trying to describe a battlefield to a civilian, a special needs parent cannot describe their life to people that do not have to deal with those struggles. If you are a parent of a child with autism or other types of issues you will find things to laugh and cry at in this book. If you want to understand the struggle of those in these types of families, this book might be a good start.
Deeply moving account of life as a parent of a child with multiple disabilities. The author leaves out nothing when describing both the joys and the pain and suffering she and her family have endured while raising Felix, her son with cerebral palsy and autism. Instead of pity, this memoir provides a sense of hope and inspiration to all parents of children of all abilities. Even through the descriptions of the more difficult episodes that Felix and his family encountered, I could not put this book down. The entire range of my emotional bandwidth was stimulated and engaged by this memoir.
A beautiful memoir that is simultaneously unvarnished and full of wonder. Ms. Factor has distilled community, love, exhaustion, despair, and hope, and even the mundane tasks of parenthood, to haunting, moving effect. Highly recommended!
It's not easy to be a mother with an autistic and physically disabled child. But Eliza tells her story in such a beautiful way. From a mother point of view, the writer shares her story and struggles with such honesty. I was really blessed by reading this book.
Strange Beauty by Eliza Factor was an amazing read. It charts, in a very open and honest way and sometimes with a touch of humor, the story of her son, Felix, from his birth and diagnosis with physical disabilities and autism to special and significant moments in his life. As a person with multiple physical disabilities myself, I could identify with many parts of the story and especially with the daily fight they faced. The story is so engrossing, and I could really see the personality of Eliza, her husband Felix and his sisters coming through throughout the course of the book. Felix's determination in everything he does as well as that of all the family was very well represented. The flow and pace were exactly right, so much so that I read it in a day. Thanks so much to Eliza and her family as well as the publisher and NetGalley for an advanced Kindle ecopy prior to publication. The mention of the YouTube channel as a place to find Felix and the Factor family was a beautiful and special touch to the book as I could see the family and how they lived their life and put a face to their names.