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The inspiring story of Rex, a boy who is not only blind and autistic, but who also happens to be a musical savant.
How can an 11-year old boy hear a Mozart fantasy for the first time and play it back note-for-note perfectly-but struggle to navigate the familiar surroundings of his own home? Cathleen Lewis says her son Rex's laugh of total abandon is the single most joyous sound anyone could hear, but his tortured aversion to touch and sound breaks her heart and makes her wonder ...
The inspiring story of Rex, a boy who is not only blind and autistic, but who also happens to be a musical savant.
How can an 11-year old boy hear a Mozart fantasy for the first time and play it back note-for-note perfectly-but struggle to navigate the familiar surroundings of his own home? Cathleen Lewis says her son Rex's laugh of total abandon is the single most joyous sound anyone could hear, but his tortured aversion to touch and sound breaks her heart and makes her wonder what God could have had in mind. In this book she shares the mystery of Rex and the highs, lows, hopes, dreams, joy, sorrows, and faith she has journeyed through with him.
"This memoir documents a musical savant in a way we have not seen before, allowing us to reconsider the limits we place on people with disabilities. Highly recommended for all public libraries and academic libraries with autism and special needs collections." — Library Journal, 11/25/2008
"Two of the most extraordinary and uplifting people I have ever known. Their story shows the amazingly moving struggle and success that proves love and faith can achieve miracles." — Jane Seymour, actress, artist, author, and entrepreneur
"The remarkable story of a mother's love and a child's indomitable spirit, told in a writer's style that riveted me to the page, is singularly the most important work ever written on the relationship between a parent and a child with disability. For me, as a person who happens to be blind, the experience of reading Rex was an eye-opener I will never forget. Bravo, Cathleen! Bravo, Rex. Your work and your lives will forever change the future of disability in America. — Tom Sullivan, author of Adventures in Darkness and Together
Fear not that thy life shall come to an end, but rather fear that it shall never have a beginning. -John Henry Cardinal
I was pregnant-very pregnant. I looked down at my belly and hugged it ... and him. We knew it was a he; rather, "he" was a boy. I'd get it right. We'd give him a name soon, but it had to be the perfect name. Anything less would be, well, not quite perfect. My husband, William, and I had both wanted a boy, William being South African and macho, and me being-or rather having been-a tomboy. Admittedly, I was still quite in love with sports and my husband and the world! I was giddy, that's the word. I was foolishly, schoolgirlishly giddy! Three weeks from delivery, and I was in this growing state of excitement, of anticipation that was growing with my belly, growing with the little boy who had my profile. The ultrasound had captured the image of my pug nose-it was unmistakable. That's when the beautiful reality had really struck home.
I knew that much of this euphoria was because I had waited so long to have a child. Thirty-six is not old in absolute terms, but it felt so in baby-bearing years. And it was in my thirty-sixth year that the ticking of my biological clock had begun to resound louder and louder, gripping me like so many women around my age. Fortunately for me, I was also a newlywed. After being wrapped up in my professional life in France for twelve years, I had moved home the year before and had met the man of my dreams. He had just arrived from South Africa, here for a week on business; and because I'd lived abroad for so long, it felt in a way like we were both foreigners. Meeting on a typically sunny day in Los Angeles, there had been something fateful in our instant bond. It had the smack of destiny. I knew that was the stuff of romance novels, not real life, but in a world this big and random, that kind of chance meeting had to be written in the stars.
I sighed a contented sigh and hugged my tummy again.
It had been such an easy pregnancy. No morning sickness to speak of, and my Lamaze training had me fully confident the birth itself would go just as smoothly.
That's why the phone dropped from my hand as I heard the doctor's words through the line. "The ultrasound shows the presence of a suspicious mass in the brain of the fetus." I felt a sharp pain grip my belly. Or was it just in my mind? I'd had my appointment that morning, and the doctor had reviewed the scan right in front of me and had said nothing! No, the opposite, in fact-he'd been all smiles. That's why I'd been on such a new mother's high all day! And now he was dropping this bombshell over the phone? The doctor explained that he'd wanted to look at the film more closely before advising me. That was the reason he hadn't said anything.
"It wasn't there a month ago," he went on, as though that might console a soon-to-be first-time mother about the fact that there was something "foreign" in her baby's brain. I knew it hadn't been there a month ago. What did he think, that I would have forgotten that little bit of news? That I would have remembered my baby's upturned nose but not the "suspicious mass"? I tried to calm myself down so I could just listen. But he didn't have anything more to say. He couldn't tell me what the "mass" might be. More extensive ultrasounds were needed to determine that. And they needed to be done immediately.
After a battery of more detailed imaging, a conclusive diagnosis was made-the mass was an anachroid cyst. That's what they said was in my baby's head-a gigantic, fluid-filled cyst. "It's benign," a new doctor said, this one in charge of high-definition imaging at Cedars-Sinai Hospital. The word "benign" was meant to be a reassurance. I knew that, but I was only partially relieved because I was confused by the terminology. I struggled with that word being used to describe something that filled up a quarter of my baby's head and wasn't supposed to be there. In practical, nonemotional terms, the doctors told me it meant it wouldn't endanger his life. Although I needed to deliver him quickly, the doctors could wait a few weeks to operate-critical weeks that would allow him to gain some weight, some resistance, before undergoing what would be an invasive surgery.
I consoled myself with the fact that the problem was repairable. The doctors had even told me there are adults who have lived their whole lives with cysts in their brains without even being aware of them. I was lulled into the idea that the thing really was innocuous after all. A problem that simply had to be dealt with. Once the surgery was over, we could get on with our lives-our "broken" son would be fixed, and William and I could go back to dreams and plans for our future.
Rex came into the world so easily, bypassing all the trials and traumas of labor. Delivered by C-section to avoid any potential trauma to his brain, his face had the look of an angel-bald and pure and perfect, not the look you associate with typical newborns in their ruddy, rough-and-tumble state. Tiny feet with crooked toenails-certainly they'd straighten out in time-and perfect hands. Long, slim fingers adorned by exquisitely sculpted nails. I didn't know a newborn baby could be so magnificently formed. And then there was his crowning glory in William's book-his shoulders! They'd caused quite a stir when the delivering doctor exclaimed, "Would you look at the shoulders on this boy!" as William and I awaited a first glimpse of our son. There he was, our little boy. We would name him Rex. Short, to the point, tough. A good boy's name. And it meant "king." Rex.
At eight weeks, weighing in at ten pounds, our baby was deemed strong enough to withstand the surgical procedure, which necessitated a four-inch incision down the center of a skull that wasn't much bigger than that. The neurosurgeon was going to cut holes in the cyst in numerous places so that it would drain and deflate like a rubber ball. When I asked why they couldn't just remove the whole thing, the doctor told me that the cyst was so large it was completely enmeshed in brain tissue; to take it out, they'd have to remove half of our son's brain with it!
I willed myself to be strong, as though I could counter Rex's own fragility. Our baby seemed much too small to have to undergo something so big. I tried to focus on the thought that it would soon be over, and I forced myself to keep my emotions and mind in check. And my husband was stoic-a little too stoic in my opinion. I wasn't sure whether it was a man thing, a South African thing, or maybe just a William thing I'd never encountered before
We waited in terse silence outside the intensive care unit. The procedure had gone smoothly, or so we'd been told-the cyst had been properly "fenestrated." Now we were waiting for our son to come down from recovery to the ICU where he would be interned for several days. It seemed to be taking forever. Was something wrong? Suddenly the silence was broken by the sounds of commotion as the hall door swung open, and in rushed a fleet of very big people, or so they seemed. They hovered over the bed they were hustling toward the intensive care unit. At first, all I could see of the occupant of that bed was a network of tubes, intertwining plastic life support for an unseen patient. Those people all but obscured their tiny ten-pound patient, but it was definitely him-Rex! My heart leaped, and so did I! I jockeyed for position to look on his face as he was hustled past us. Like a football team running their precious cargo protectively into the end zone, preventing any interference from the opposition, they hovered in a cloud of urgency that made Rex seem even smaller and more fragile. But there was no way they were going to get past this mother without my at least being able to look into my son's eyes. I lunged behind the bed as they hurried past, my reflexes sharpened by a potent cocktail of anxiety and love. Luckily, Rex's head was tilted backward so he was actually facing me.
That's when I saw his eyes. I felt the air being knocked out of me as they pierced right through me. Rex's eyes were frozen, transfixed on me, as though he was just waiting for an explanation. It seemed like his eyes were pleading for a reason. "There is no reason," I wanted to tell him. As I continued watching him, his eyes boring through me, I felt the steely bond of love being forged between us. For, although I'd loved Rex from the moment he was born, even from the moment I'd felt his presence in my womb, there was something new to this feeling-it was raw and all-consuming, both maternal and fiercely protective. Some mothers feel the surge grip their heart the moment they stare into their newborn child's face; for others it grows over time. With some, sadly, it never comes. For me it was in that moment, like an arrow piercing my heart.
REX'S LOOK that day would haunt me for years-the look of innocence and pleading-stalking me relentlessly at night. But I had misread the glazed stare. As a mother, I should have been able to know what was really there in my son's eyes. But I hadn't been able to see past their intense opacity and my own sense of blame and recrimination. The truth would only be revealed to me two months later by one more doctor, one more piece of information. This news would give new meaning to forever-time would shift and space would go askew. How could I have not known? Rex hadn't been staring at me that day in the hospital, his eyes pleading. The fact was he'd never even seen me. I knew that now.
I REMEMBERED how brightly the sun had been shining on the afternoon I learned the truth-how vibrantly autumn had worn its colored robe. The sun was soon to lose its gloss, and I would never again see fall colors in the same way. I had made an appointment with the ophthalmologist at Children's Hospital because I had wanted to have Rex's eyes checked. The trauma of the brain surgery had lessened by this time, and I had become concerned about the increasing movement in his eyes. They fluttered, not really fixing well on objects. Sometimes he seemed to be tracking like he should; at other times he did not, giving his eyes a random appearance. I didn't know if he needed a corrective patch or perhaps a minor surgery to fix them. Compared to what we'd been through already, my husband didn't think it would be a big deal, so he didn't accompany me.
The ophthalmologist finished the eye exam, shining a light in my son's eyes and peering in through his loupe as I stood watching. He finally asked me to sit down. As I sat facing him, he wrote some notes on a page. Waiting for him to explain what was needed to correct Rex's eyes became unbearable, the suspense forcing me to interrupt.
"So Doctor, what can we do to help Rex focus his eyes?" I asked, struggling not to sound too impatient.
I watched the doctor's face as he wrote the last couple of words on the page. A brief flash of emotion was stamped out by what appeared to be professional conditioning, and he was inscrutable as he laid his pen on the desk pad with finality. Only a sole audible breath, one of resignation, betrayed any emotion as he fixed his eyes on mine.
"There's nothing to be done," he began, then paused heavily. I wasn't following; I still didn't know where he was going. The doctor's eyes held mine, and he just said it: "Your son is blind."
I felt my body disconnecting from my mind in the most bizarre way upon hearing those words. His tone had been so matter-of-fact delivering such a brutal, unexpected blow. I felt the blow in my gut, but my mind went numb, unable to really grasp what he'd just said. He waited for a reaction. I was in shock, I suppose. I wasn't crying, but he extended a box of tissues to me anyway. Maybe he knew it wouldn't be long before the import of his words would hit me. He was probably used to the floodgates bursting.
I've since reflected on the best way to tell someone her child is blind, and maybe he did have to say it just like that. It seemed hard to me, like a sucker punch. But at the end of the day, there really is nothing that can be said to lighten the blow. Blind is blind. That's my conclusion, and it's so absolute that any sugarcoating is futile. The ophthalmologist told me Rex's blindness was caused by a congenital condition called optic nerve hypoplasia, which meant "underdevelopment of the optic nerves."
To me it simply meant the impossible, the unthinkable-Rex would live his life in darkness. It meant that my child, who had survived the horrors of invasive brain surgery at eight weeks, would never see. I couldn't quite connect to the reality of it all-it was just too big, like they were trying to snuff out my baby's life before he'd even had a chance to live it. I sat there listening to the doctor's spiel about the condition, but I just wanted to flee.
"The problem isn't with Rex's eyes," the doctor explained. "It's with the optic nerves."
"What do you mean? I don't know what an optic nerve is."
"It's a nerve that connects the eye to the brain," he said. "Light hits the eye, then it travels through the optic nerve to the brain, where it's translated into an image. So, in order to have good vision, three parts have to work normally-the eye, the optic nerve, and the brain."
"Okay," I said numbly, struggling to focus on the science of it, as tremors began to seize my body. I willed myself not to break into pieces right on the spot. I need to get the information-emotions only get in the way; hold them in check, just for a few minutes. Miraculously, I managed to disconnect my heart from my mind.
"Well, what's wrong with Rex's optic nerves?"
"They're underdeveloped. They're much smaller than normal, healthy optic nerves. And typically, optic nerves have millions of tiny fibers that serve to convert the light of the world into images. Rex's optic nerves have far fewer fibers than normal. Even if the light makes it through, he doesn't have enough fibers for his brain to make sense of it."
"How did this happen, Doctor?" I asked pathetically, letting my emotions seep through now. "I had an easy pregnancy, then three weeks before he was due to be delivered they found a cyst in my baby's brain, and now you're telling me he's blind too? That he was born blind! This is not supposed to happen. Babies are not supposed to be born blind!" My voice and emotions rose in a crescendo, and I was wiping my eyes with the proffered tissues now.
"We don't know exactly what causes it, but we believe it happens at around ten weeks gestation since that's when the optic nerves are formed," he said. "Most of the neurological wiring is also being laid at that time. So that could also have been when the seed for Rex's cyst was laid, even if it didn't blossom until much later in the pregnancy." He told me there were other incidences of children with optic nerve hypoplasia who'd also been born with a brain cyst. "The two could be related," he said, in what sounded more like a question than an answer.
"But you have no idea what causes either?" I asked in a tone of utter disbelief that said, "I want accountability."
"Nothing conclusive," he said, launching into an explanation that sounded like he was reading from a textbook. "But we do know that there were fewer than one hundred known cases of optic nerve hypoplasia documented in the century up to 1970, then during the seventies there were hundreds of cases, during the eighties, thousands, and now it's a major cause of blindness in infants. We think it must be environmental." Amazingly, I was taking it in, as though shock had sent me into a hyper-lucid state. But then, my emotions began closing in from all sides.
Nothing conclusive, environmental, we don't know why! Blind, blind, blind! Those were the words that swirled through my mind as I stumbled out of the doctor's office, assaulted now by an unremitting noonday sun. I was horrified at the thought of telling my husband and felt like the whole thing was some sort of surreal nightmare. The world as I had known it had simply and irrevocably ceased to exist in the space of an instant. No one could even tell me why, give me a reason. It just happened! Just like that! Like we'd drawn the "blind" ticket in a great baby lottery. The doctor had provided me with a straw to grasp. "Children with optic nerve hypoplasia may develop some vision as they grow older. Some do; some don't. We don't really know why."
Excerpted from Rex by CATHLEEN LEWIS Copyright © 2008 by Cathleen Lewis. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted March 7, 2009
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
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 January 24, 2013
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
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!
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
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.
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
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:
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
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
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
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 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.
Posted January 7, 2009
Let me start by saying that I enjoyed reading "Rex." It was a fascinating look into the "real" side of disabilities. The problem that I had is that the book cover states..."A Mother, Her Autistic Child, and the Music that Transformed Their Lives." While this book is indeed about a mother and her child, who happens to be autistic, it is also so much more than that! <BR/>Cathleen Lewis chronicles the real, raw emotions that any mother, who learns her child needs major surgery at a few days old, is blind and also exhibits autistic behaviors would experience. I felt was she was feeling when reading "Rex." <BR/>Rex is also the story of a mother who refused to give up, refused to back down, dug her heels in and made certain that her son would have the best life, the most enjoyable life that he could. <BR/>Rex is the story of a mother who learns to have faith, embrace faith, and like all mothers, learns that it's okay to let go, so that her son can soar...down a steep driveway, across piano keys as the musical savant that he is, bombing down a mountain on skis, on surfboard catching a waves. <BR/>Hats off to you, Cathleen Lewis, and your son, Rex.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.