Customer Reviews for

Boy Alone: A Brother's Memoir

Average Rating 3.5
( 10 )
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5 Star

(2)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Brave and honest but

As the grandparent of a child with Asperger's and friend to a parent whose child is severely autistic, I approached this book cautiously. This subject, when too closely regarded, can hurt. I was rewarded with a detailed history of treatments and therapies, enlightening ...
As the grandparent of a child with Asperger's and friend to a parent whose child is severely autistic, I approached this book cautiously. This subject, when too closely regarded, can hurt. I was rewarded with a detailed history of treatments and therapies, enlightening descriptions of current research, and, most of all, a brave and honest account of a sibling/family struggle to cope with this disease. But just when I was ready to proclaim to my own circle, You have to read this! - I was totally derailed by the incredible sidestep that occurs near the end of the story. And, when I'd righted myself and reread where I'd been led astray, I was angry. My own hopes felt exploited and betrayed. Why did Greenfeld have to do it this way? Is it an eminently discussable book? Yes. But beware. Reality bites.

posted by Fromtheheart on March 26, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Not all that great.

Having grown up in a relatively normal family, I cannot even start to understand how difficult it was to grow up with a brother like Noah. However, I sympathized with Karl because I felt his pain and his loneliness through his book. I understood how much he disliked his...
Having grown up in a relatively normal family, I cannot even start to understand how difficult it was to grow up with a brother like Noah. However, I sympathized with Karl because I felt his pain and his loneliness through his book. I understood how much he disliked his brother. Karl felt that there was no hope for his brother in the future, so he thought of Noah as a lost cause. While I was reading, I felt the same about Noah too, but then Karl went on to explain how Noah got better! Karl wrote that when he got back from college, he came home to a brother that could speak! He went on to explain how Noah helped him get through his drug addictions, how Noah got married with his first "girlfriend" and how he even asked Karl for his blessing. Once Karl explains how Noah has made magnificent progress, more than anyone could have hoped. Karl cruelly tells the readers that all he had written about Noah and his improvements was just a dream. In reality, Noah had been institutionalized with other autistic adults and had been beaten and hurt. After believing that Noah had gotten better and had improved, this news was devastating and ruined the book for me. It made me sad and made me want to stop reading the book all together. I hated the fact that Karl Greenfeld had led me on to believe that Noah had gotten better.

posted by Tiffany_T on October 2, 2010

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  • Posted October 15, 2011

    A Let Down

    I have never really come across a person who is autistic, so reading the book, Boy Alone written by Karl Taro Greenfeld, is a huge eye opener for me. I did not know what it meant to be autistic or what it feels like to have someone in your family be autistic. It's a good book for those who want to know more about autism, but it is not a good book for anyone to read under the age of 13. There is some strong language throughout the book which isn't appropriate for children. The book starts off extremely slowly and it becomes harder to read. When Karl's parents first find out that their son is autistic they go crazy looking in books for some answers, and Karl says, "For my parents, this period is an odyssey through the universe of literature and theories of developmentally disabled children..." (40). His sentences are pack with words and I tend to get lost in his wordiness. Although it does start off slow, the book picks up and becomes more interesting toward the very end of the book. Karl describes that his brother becomes a higher functioning autistic, "He is forming small words, making little sentences..." (272). In the beginning of the book he says that his brother is a very low functioning autistic, so hearing that his brother could talk makes you feel happy. Then, out of nowhere, you see all of these reports and the author hits you with the fact that none of it happened. It was somber ending to the book, and it leaves you feeling like nothing was accomplished by reading that middle part. I would recommend this book to those people who have a lot of time on their hands. It took me quite a while to make it through the whole book. At first, Boy Alone is a dull and slow moving book, it picks up in the middle, and then you get let down all over again.

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