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Aidan's Way: The Story of a Boy's Life and a Father's Journey

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2002

    Inspiring and highly recommended

    Every now and then a book comes along that wakes us out of our drab routine lives and makes us reevaluate essential questions: what is important? Am I doing something worthwhile with my life? What is life's meaning? Trite as it may sound, "Aidan's Way" does just that, but in a way that is subtle and avoids self-indulgent breast-beating. At its core, "Aidan's Way" is a resounding affirmation of life. Sam and Maureen Crane are the parents of Aidan, who is profoundly retarded mentally--he cannot walk, talk or see. At every turn, they face the possibility that he may die. Pneumonia assaults his lungs and grand mal seizures force him to rely on a feeding tube for sustenance. Adversaries come in human guise as well, with the Cranes heroically combating outrageous abuses by their HMO, doctors stereotyping Aidan as "one of THOSE kids," and a heartbreaking moment of frustration when an indecisive nurse fails to administer a drug in time to stop Aidan's seizures from permanently damaging his already fragile brain. There are heroes, too--a doctor with cerebral palsy who doggedly probes the causes of Aidan's condition while others write him off, a younger sister who brings hope and joy to the family, and countless therapists, journalists, and teachers. Aidan touches hundreds of people. There is even an amusing vignette about Aidan's role in a row involving his father and, of all people, the Singaporean Prime Minister. Crane's prose is saturated with vivid imagery and he effectively conveys both the heart-rending pain and sheer joy that is Aidan's way. Drawing upon ancient Chinese texts, particularly the Tao Te Ching and the writings of Chuang Tzu, Crane explores the lessons that Aidan offers to all who come in contact with him. We, the readers, follow Crane's journey as he struggles with ideas of science, human worth and purpose, and the dichotomy of active, rational analysis and intervention, and passive being. All in all, an inspiring book by a talented writer who has obviously poured into his words not only his heart, but also that of his son's.

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