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Posted March 7, 2009
A Boy, His Mom, His Music. Title: Rex: A Mother, Her Autistic Child, and the Music That Transformed Their Lives, by Cathleen Lewis. Published: Thomas Nelson, 2008
Imagine yourself a young woman in her late-20's to early 30's, a newlywed and expecting your first child. It is an easy pregnancy with no hint of any problems. Life is good until, three weeks prior to term, the telephone rings; the doctor you saw that morning tells you the latest ultrasound shows a cyst on your baby's brain. Surgery will be necessary soon after your child is born. But this is only the beginning of challenges for which you are completely unprepared.
This was Cathleen Lewis's experience. Surgery took place eight weeks after Rex was born. With the cyst presumably resolved, Lewis was unprepared for what lay ahead. The next few years offered a seemingly endless parade of new medical terms for diagnoses and conditions she had never heard of and must learn to live with, with Rex. But not all was dark.
Rex received a musical keyboard on his second birthday, a Godsend. Music and rhythm proved to be highly effective calming agents for his autistic behaviors and emotional swings. More than that, on the keyboard, Rex really was "king." Rex is a musical savant. But it seemed to me that his musical brain also allowed him to develop physically, cognitively and socially to defy many of the dire predictions made in his first three years.
In the book, Lewis takes the reader through all the stages of learning, setbacks, triumphs and disappointments for both herself and Rex. Along the way, she begins to realize that, at her son's core, he knows pure joy. In the words of one of his first piano teachers, Rex seems to embody "a touch of the divine."
I intended to write this review when I finished my first reading, but the story of how Rex progressed so captivated me that one reading of the book was insufficient. Even after reading the book again, I still struggle to stick to a review, rather than simply unfolding the storyline. I believe that struggle testifies to the power of the story.
I highly recommend this book, but with a caveat or two: Rex's story may seem to offer hope for parents with an autistic or brain-damaged child, but for most, it is a hope that will never be fulfilled. On the other hand, parents with a challenged child may be encouraged to stretch themselves and their child beyond grim prognoses. Read Rex., but read it for what it is: the story of how God used an extraordinary gift of music to lift Rex and his mother into a life of blessings for themselves and others.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 15, 2009
I just recently read the book entitled ¿Rex¿. it was written by his mother Cathleen. The book is about a woman who finds out that the baby she is carrying has a tumor in the brain. She makes the difficult choice of going through with the pregnancy and gives birth to her son Rex. They knew about the tumor and the doctors performed surgery to remove as much as they could. The surgery went well, but as Rex began to get a little bit older, they found out that he was blind. After hearing those words the mother had to look deep within and she went to get help for her son at a preschool for children who were blind. It was at that school were she brought Rex that she discovered that not only was he blind but was also diagnosed with Autism. It took her awhile to except the fact that her son had autism and was blind. The way that Cathleen goes to God for help and seeks him out was inspiring for me to see. This book is about a young boy whom God put on the earth to make a huge difference in many people. The book was written very well, and had a good flow to it as well. I enjoyed being inspired to do things or try things that might have been difficult or hard for me to do. Rex gives me strength on the hard days, where I do not want to try my best or give it my all.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 7, 2009
Compelling in every way
I ordered this book from Thomas Nelson to review knowing it might not be the easiest book to read, but I am always up for a challenge and wanted to learn more about the world of autism.<BR/><BR/>I was transfixed by Rex's story. Narrated by his plucky mother, Cathleen, she shares the blow-by-blow details of Rex's life from a week before his birth up to the time of printing. I appreciated her understandable mix of scientific and medical terminology while relating everything into comprehendable language so that anyone would feel comfortable reading this book. <BR/><BR/>Most poingnant to me were Rex's experiences in education. How little "the system" works for children with disabilities, and how much parental interaction and collaboration is necessary to actually carry out individualized and specialized education. I adored Cathleen's ferocity when it came to Rex's care and education. Not allowing him to be isolated or exploited because of his extraordinary talents or limiting abilities.<BR/><BR/>If you know someone with a child who is blind, autistic, disabled or simply different in even the slightest way, this book would be a tremendous resource to share with a parent. Rather than simply listing all the negatives and struggles (which, believe me, she shares them all very frankly) there is a beautiful balance of positivity and the grace Rex and his mom have fallen heir to despite the challenging cards they have been dealt.<BR/><BR/>I could barely put this book down. It touched me very deeply and gave me an education without the experience. Personally, I was thrilled to read that when at the very bottom, Cathleen found peace in a church building, and a friend and ally in God.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 20, 2011
Posted March 23, 2011
Posted September 5, 2013
Posted January 24, 2013
One of those books which will stay with you long after you're do
One of those books which will stay with you long after you're done reading it. A powerful reminder that God can use anyone to remind us of His love. When you doubt if your live has a purpose - read this book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 3, 2011
Excellent, heart warming story that touches one with the struggles people go through with a child with a disability. Through it all, the purpose of his life comes through.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 5, 2011
How awesome are our minds! This was a wonderful book written by a Mother who would not give up. She deserves a halo. Where did she get the energy to work with her son 24/7.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 1, 2011
Posted April 4, 2009
Rex by Cathleen Lewis
What a wonderful book. I am studying to be a special education teacher and I found this book to be such an inspiration. This book reminds the reader that all children have the capability to be phenomenal, even if there is a disability or health problem evident in their life. Hope resonates throughout Lewis' book as she tells this story of her son and their family that will move you to tears through some parts of the book! She used the platform she provided for Rex to be an example for all parents who have sometimes lost sight of the wonderful abilities and talents of their children. This is one of the few books that I have read that acurately and inspiringly tell the story of a child with autism. I loved how Cathleen Lewis tied in her belief in God and how that played a part in the way she adjusted to the news of her son and the hope she had. She appropriately advocated for her son to teachers, peers, and those who held doubt. I would definetly recommend this book to any parent of a child who has special needs!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The only problem I had with this book is the cover. It states, "A mother, her autistic child, and the music that transformed their lives." I did not like this as it does not use people-first language. When you say "autistic child" you are putting the label in front of the child. I believe it would have been more appropriate to say, "her child with autism." This description would put the child first, which is a much more positive label.
Posted March 17, 2009
A Classic is Born
Reading Rex introduced me to autism, a subject I had never contemplated before, and I embraced the experience. Told by a gifted storyteller and mother, this tale encompasses compassion, courage, valor, and sheer holding on for both mother and child. They share a mutual experience that grows richer for the telling, and their gift to all of us has the makings of a classic.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Some places I wept; at other times I celebrated, as these individuals melded together for Rex's good. Lewis' faith remained, her courage didn't flag, her encouragers supported their needs, and somehow the money flowed for the inevitable journey that thrust itself upon these two indomitable individuals.
You may not enjoy this book in the usual sense, but your heart and mind will remain captivated long after you read the last word. As I said, a classic has been forged within the book's pages.
Reviewed by Audrey Hebbert, M.A., author of Green Light Red Light
Posted February 9, 2009
Autistic Child Brightens the World
It is a very touching story of a real life tragedy that turned into a triumph for autistic child around the world. There were no miracles he is like everyone else finding his own path in life. By doing this he made the world a brighter place.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 1, 2009
I Also Recommend:
Rex, An Inspiration
Lewis takes readers on an inspiring journey through the joys and challenges of raising a child who is blind, autistic and most of all, a musical genius. <BR/><BR/>"There's nothing to be done," he began...The doctor's eyes held mine, and he just said it: "Your son is blind." (Lewis, p. 7)<BR/><BR/> This novel revolves around a mother's desire to give her son a full and happy life in spite of the odds. A divorced mother, she takes on the day-to-day tasks of ensuring her son has the best education and opportunities possible. Rex, although at times heart-wrenching is truly inspiring. Rex himself is a Hero. A young boy that will cause the most arrogant person to bow down and be humbled. There are parts of the story that make one stop and appreciate the beauty that is often hidden within the ugliness of the world.<BR/><BR/> As in many books written by mothers about their children, the storie tend to be one-sided and rose colored but Lewis maintains an even balance in her narrative. Rex is not too perfect and neither is she. She often highlights her mistakes and admits when she was wrong in lacking faith when it came to allowing others to interact with her son. There are many risks when telling a narrative story but Lewis manages to breeze through with flying colors. <BR/><BR/> Although the story begins with the tale of a mother's agony it slowly blossoms into a story about the hope, purpose, inspiration and love that is wrapped up in an incredibly gifted little boy. Young Rex inspires courage and selflessness. His story is one of love, powerful love. <BR/><BR/><BR/><BR/><BR/>¿¿¿¿¿-I Love It! <BR/>xoxoWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 31, 2009
"Rex" by Cathleen Lewis
I was drawn to this particular book because our daughter-in-law is an educator and works with children with special needs. In reading this book I thought that it might bring me a little more insight into her work and her gift that she brings to the children and they to her.<BR/><BR/>¿Rex¿ is a fascinating story about a mother, her autistic child and his amazing gift of music that totally changed their lives. Upon hearing that her son was born blind a young mother and father¿s lives fell apart, wondering what lie ahead for them. Their child could not see,talk, walk, and was soon to be diagnosed as autistic. I wasn¿t too far into the book before my heart went out to this young mother when because of the difficulties of raising a multidisabled child was too much for her husband and he proceeds to leave her and his son, soon filing for divorce. Cathleen Lewis displays an amazing amount of strength but begins to question God, asking why would He ever put this burden on an innocent child and wondering how would her child ever connect with the world. It was when her son was given a keyboard for his second birthday that she was shown the gift given to her son. His autistic behavior all but disappeared when he sat before that keyboard, which calmed him and became his lifeline to a somewhat normal life. It was a transformation that would affect their lives.<BR/><BR/>As Cathleen Lewis sat one particular night, after a harrowing day, watching her son sleep she was struck by the calmness of his breathing, the peaceful sound of the waves rippling on the shore outside of their home, the sound of a seagull crying in the breeze she noticed the moonlight reflecting upon his beautiful and peaceful face. He rested and slept as any normal 2 year old would. It was at that time that ¿against all odds, my mind was taking refuge, finding rest even in the one absolute in our lives-the love that I felt for my son, sustaining me now in the darkest hour, by what I knew could only be the grace of God.<BR/><BR/>This book truly is an inspiration to all that may have children with special needs. Cathleen Lewis is bound and determined that her child is going to live the life of ¿normal¿ child and in my eyes she has succeeded! The relationship between her and her child was one of learning on both sides for we all have so much to learn from our children, especially those with special needs. Her faith in God was strengthened by this most wonderful and precious gift given to her. We truly never know what path we are being led down and what is in store for our lives, but most certainly God does have a plan for all of us.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 27, 2009
Words That Are Music to Your Ears
Cathleen had an ideal life. She had built up a successful career for herself, and then come home to marry the man of her dreams and start a family with a little boy who would be nurtured by his parents love. In an ironic reversal of fortunes, what could have been just a story of a woman capturing the budding moments of motherhood, turned into much more. Enter: Rex. When it was realized that their little boy would live an imprisoned life due to autism, it was a second defeating blow, only trumped by the fact that Rex was also legally blind. <BR/><BR/>This story touched me; written in such a way that I couldn¿t help but sympathize with Rex and Cathleen as they surpassed one insurmountable odd at a time. What was also incredible was that they didn¿t just ¿survive¿ but through the doorway of music, Rex entered into a world of prodigy. Within several short years, in the life of a child, he mastered some of the most well-known and gifted pianists works. <BR/><BR/>As Cathleen opened her heart to new faith, she placed her trust in the loving person of Christ to care for her and Rex¿s needs. And not only did she find provision, but a platform to share her son¿s talent and to help other families and children that have also suffered under heavy trials of disabilities. <BR/><BR/>I would hand this book on to others to read, it gave me a look into a world that I had not been privileged to relate to until now.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 20, 2009
This was a wonderful book. I couldn't put it down. I was totally captivated by the true life of Cathleen Lewis and her son, Rex, his abilities among his multiple disabilities. I admire Cathleen for her strength to fight for him when needed against the public school special education department and succeeding in getting Rex the help he needed. Amazing story of God's love and grace everyday in Rex's life and in bringing Cathleen to see how God would use Rex and his story for God's glory. She is definitely an amazing mom of an amazing son. This book totally validates that all life is valuable no matter the disability.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 14, 2009
I was not expecting to enjoy Rex as much as I did. In fact, I was only anticipating using it as reading while I wait for my car to have its oil changed (after all, it is only 237 pages long). But even after my oil change was finished early, I still couldn¿t put down the book.<BR/><BR/>The worst part was wanting more, wanting to see where this little boy goes in his life and only realizing at the end that he¿s still just a young boy, still with many years ahead of him. Throughout the book, Cathleen Lewis¿ raw emotions were very apparent; his mother¿s account of her feelings, her hope, and her frustrations are touching and understandable. That is probably the best part of the book: the way in which we, the audience, are made to empathize with Lewis and hope for the best for her little boy. The book was very marvelously written in the fact that the wave of emotions ebbs and flows, building up one moment and then releasing the next. The little bits of joy found in a life that seemingly appeared hopeless gave this book power and joy.<BR/><BR/>The author touches on her experiences with God and, although not numerous in their mentioning, some of them were touching. However, most of the experiences did seem somewhat contrived, especially as her battle with God progressed; likewise, the role her brother played in her hope and love toward God was seemingly forgettable. The church played merely as a backdrop to Lewis¿ battle with God and with her own hopelessness and pride. The spiritual role played in her son¿s life, although not as prominent, was far more touching. All in all, it is an unforgettable story about an unforgettable little boy who had all of life¿s worse thrown at him and we are privy to seeing how he and his mother have overcome these struggles through both their own determination and through the grace of God.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 12, 2009
An Inspiring Story of Hope and Faith
I just finished reading Rex by Cathleen Lewis. This story weaves a powerful story of hope and inspiration written from a mother's perspective. Lewis tells her story as mother, friend, and advocate to her son Rex. Rex suffers from multiple disabilities, including blindness and autism. These disabilities are extremely taxing on both child and parent, but the severity of his handicaps and the non-textbook nature of his conditions, cause months and years of frustration and angst on Lewis. Her story outlines her struggle to not only understand her son's many intricacies, but advocate on his behalf in the face of doctors, peers, teachers, and society.<BR/><BR/>Lewis relies on her faith in God to sustain her through the challenges of raising her son, but sees God's amazing work as Rex connects to himself, his mother, and the world through music. Rex is drawn to the keys of a piano and becomes a musical savant. His talent is overwhelming and almost unexplainable. <BR/><BR/>Rex is inspirational and serves as a great reminder of the power of faith. It is moving to see the love and strength of this mother as she does what seems miraculous, but she just views as normal. This story was intriguing to me and am anxious to follow the story of this real life hero, Rex.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 8, 2009
Rex is a touching true story.
Rex by Cathleen Lewis is the ultimate story of God's grace. It is chock full of personal stories from a mother's perspective, stories that will make you laugh and cry, and these stories tell about Rex. Rex is a boy born with some severe disabilities, and with some amazing talent. Rex is autistic and blind. He is also a musical prodigy. A Savant. Cathleen Lewis takes you on a journey with her and Rex as they conquer his disabilities and together learn about living a ¿normal¿ life and most importantly about trusting in God. It is both heartwrenching and joyful. I started reading with the notion that it wouldn't be very good. It was classified as Business and Culture. It turned out to be a wonderful book, reminding me constantly that God is there, ever faithful to sustain me through the toughest of times. Though at times the language was a tad redundant and sometimes moved slowly, it was on the whole encouraging and very well written. While it was told in story form it was also informative and gave insight into the struggles of parents with special needs children. Throughout this book I was impressed by the courage of both mother and son and encouraged by both of their spirits which refused to be held back.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.