Following Ezra: What One Father Learned about Gumby, Otters, Autism, and Love From His Extraordinary Son

Following Ezra: What One Father Learned about Gumby, Otters, Autism, and Love From His Extraordinary Son

by Tom Fields-Meyer


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Following Ezra: What One Father Learned about Gumby, Otters, Autism, and Love From His Extraordinary Son by Tom Fields-Meyer

A heartwarming, intimate and amusing memoir of a father's experience raising his autistic son.

When Tom Fields-Meyer's son Ezra was three and showing early signs of autism, a therapist suggested that the father needed to grieve.
"For what?" he asked.
The answer: "For the child he didn't turn out to be."
That moment helped strengthen the author's resolve to do just the opposite: to love the child Ezra was, a quirky boy with a fascinating and complex mind. Full of tender moments and unexpected humor, Following Ezra is the story of a father and son on a ten-year journey from Ezra's diagnosis to the dawn of his adolescence. It celebrates his growth from a remote toddler to an extraordinary young man, connected in his own remarkable ways to the world around him.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451234636
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/06/2011
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 781,420
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Tom Fields-Meyer is an author and journalist. A former senior writer for People, he has written for dozens of publications, including The New York Times Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. A native of Portland, Oregon and a graduate of Harvard, he lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their three sons.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Following Ezra 1

Chapter 1 He's Gone 5

Chapter 2 A Different Mind 24

Chapter 3 Lots of Little Fears 39

Chapter 4 The Boy Who Shouted 56

Chapter 5 Finding My Son at the Zoo 69

Chapter 6 The Reader 81

Chapter 7 Gumby, Cheerios, and Red T-shirts 95

Chapter 8 Typing Lessons 114

Chapter 9 I Just Know 126

Chapter 10 Chasing Elmo 145

Chapter 11 Is Your Dog Friendly? 162

Chapter 12 Right and Wrong, Death and God 175

Chapter 13 Three Questions 190

Chapter 14 Remembering the Future 207

Epilogue: Back in My Brain 236

What People are Saying About This

Rabbi David J. Wolpe

"Following Ezra is an unsentimental, beautifully written memoir about a boy whose limitations and gifts are as extraordinary as his impact on the reader's life. Like Ezra himself, this book is by turns funny, painful, poignant and scrupulously honest."

James Patterson

"Anyone who is raising a child with special needs should read Following Ezra. It shows how warmth and humor—yes, humor—can help not just the child, but the family, more than most of us could ever imagine."

From the Publisher

"When Tom Fields-Meyer's son Ezra was diagnosed with autism, the author decided to forego mourning for the child who might have been, and concentrate instead on the delightful kid he had. Following Ezra is at once a meticulous description of what it is to parent a child who has autism, and a salute to the kid whose mind takes both of them to mysterious, profound, and silly places we so-called typical adults can scarcely imagine."—Carolyn See, author of Making a Literary Life, and grandmother of a child with autism

Beth Kephart

"I trust the parent who yields to wonder and celebrates the unexpected. Love is the river that runs through this book. Dignity and grace light each page."

Customer Reviews

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Following Ezra: What One Father Learned about Gumby, Otters, Autism and Love from His Extraordinary Son 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. "Following Ezra" is a wonderful, uplifting story about the evolution of one parent's relationship with his autistic son. As author Tom Fields-Meyer notes, it's the book he would have wanted to read when he learned his son Ezra had autism. But this book is much more than that -- it's the book all parents should read when they learn they are becoming parents. With love, humor and a true desire to let Ezra lead him, Fields-Meyer teaches us all that what our children need most is parents who love and appreciate them no matter what challenges they may face. I found myself laughing out loud on one page and shedding a tear the next as the author traces the triumphs, disappointments and revelations that come with raising a boy like Ezra.
Alana Levitt More than 1 year ago
As a new parent, i can relate to Tom's love for his child, his pride in Ezra's accomplishments. As a parent with a typical child, I don't have the experiences and struggles of raising an autistic child as the author articulates so well. This is a book I haven't put down. We can all learn from Tom's patience, and from the incredible young man who is Ezra.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My daughter has autism, and I've been trying to find ways to cope with it... His book is a complete 180 from all other books about it. An inspiration for any parent!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
slush More than 1 year ago
I devoured this honest, sometimes humorous and very real story. Having a son on the spectrum who is just 5 now, I can relate to a lot of the content in this book. My husband and I both read it and it changed our view on how we should be handling our own son. Our boy has some very similar personality traits to Ezra and we found ourselves laughing out loud. Loved it. Again, loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very insightful book on autism.Would recommend to any one that wants to know more about the day to day life of an autistic child. Loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Plz take the hint