Ghost Boy Book Review


Author: Martin Pistorius and Megan Lloyd Davies
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Released: July 1st, 2011
Genre: Biography, Non-Fiction
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover

Synopsis (by Goodreads) :

They all thought he was gone. But he was alive and trapped inside his own body for ten years.

In January 1988 Martin Pistorius, aged twelve, fell inexplicably sick. First he lost his voice and stopped eating. Then he slept constantly and shunned human contact. Doctors were mystified. Within eighteen months he was mute and wheelchair-bound. Martin’s parents were told an unknown degenerative disease left him with the mind of a baby and less than two years to live.

Martin was moved to care centers for severely disabled children. The stress and heartache shook his parents’ marriage and their family to the core. Their boy was gone. Or so they thought.

“When I needed to forget, I could always be free. However desperate I felt, there was always one place where I knew I could lose myself: my imagination. There I could be anything I wanted to be.
– Martin Pistorius, Ghost Boy.

My review :

The moment I started this book, I could immediately feel a connection with it. I relate Martin’s condition so much to my sister’s condition. A person who is trapped inside a body and can barely do anything to tell people what he or she likes or dislikes.

“You can’t ask other people to give you permission to dream. You just have to do it.”
– Martin Pistorius, Ghost Boy.

Ghost Boy didn’t have a fix story line, as it sometimes traveled back and forth between the years. Nevertheless, the journey of Martin in achieving his voice, success in life, in love was clearly portrayed and the development was clearly written out. This book was heart-wrenching, frustrating to be read at times, and beautiful at the same time. There were a few scenes that captured my heart.

“I’d been put into a box long before, after all. Each of us has. Are you the ‘difficult child’ or the ‘histrionic’ lover, the ‘argumentative’ sibling or the ‘long suffering’ spouse? Boxes make us easier to understand but they also imprison us because people don’t see past them.
– Martin Pistorius, Ghost Boy.

First, the parents. As Martin told about how his parents coping with his condition, every piece of my heart was torn apart. It was devastating and sad to read how a mother lose her hope, then to understand how hurt her heart must be to see her healthy child falling apart. Reading her mother’s acceptance, putting effort, then giving up on her child was deeply upsetting. But then, as the mother saw glimpses of chance in her child again, to see the fire in her lit up again and the way she fought for him was the most noble thing ever. This part of the story made me wish that no mother will ever again need to go through this kind of situation or at least let them to have the greatest strength to face it.

“Dreams can be any size you want them to be. But the important thing is that you have one that is yours.”
– Martin Pistorius, Ghost Boy.

Secondly, how he changed and transformed. This part of his life was really inspiring for me. It was not how smart he was or how brilliant he was. But it was his determination and his passion of getting out of his shell that amazed me. How could someone who was so helpless be so brave and be so undefeated despite of all the hardship and barriers?

“I knew where I was. I knew where I was going. I had feelings. I wasn’t just a ghost boy. But no one looked.”
– Martin Pistorius, Ghost Boy.

Thirdly, the abusive scenes. Reading through the first part of it was really tough and it really disgusted me on how cruel can people be to other human beings. I was so mad and angry. Then, the second part of the abusive scenes got me even madder. It was worse, people treating him as if he was a toy or a thing without feelings and it frustrated me so much that I could barely read that part of the book. The way it was written was so precised and it really puzzled me on how could people be so mean, ugly and heartless. He was a person who knew nothing and so innocent and helpless. Gosh! Wish you’ve read it. (If you do, feel free to share your thought)

“Love between men and women has always interested me: the way it ebbs and flows like a living thing, or how it is revealed in secret smiles or anguished conversations. Perhaps I’ve always found it so captivating because it was the starkest reminder of how alone I was.”
– Martin Pistorius, Ghost Boy.

Fourthly, his love life. His definition of love, the way he discovered love and saw love in different people, different situations, different perspectives was really heartwarming. I loved every single moment reading about how he met his wife. I felt so much for their love and was so glad that such love is still existing in this world. There were so many beautiful words that can be quoted out of this book on love alone.


Overall, for a person who rarely read a biography book, I definitely enjoyed reading Ghost Boy. I was in emotional mess reading it. It ended so beautifully as well. For that, I highly recommend this book to everyone, who knows it might inspire you like it inspired me? 🙂

rating : 5 / 5 stars!


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