Seeing Ezra by Kerry Cohen is a mother’s heartfelt story of getting to know her autistic son and advocating on his behalf. When a baby sitter tells Cohen that she suspects that her son is autistic, the family’s worst fears are realized. Cohen understands that her world and that of her entire family will change now that her son will be considered “different,” “delayed,” or “special” by others. However, she lives her life finding ways to connect genuinely with her son and is successful on many levels.
As Cohen enters the new world of having to raise a child with special needs, she realizes that her son will still develop, but simply at his own rate. He will enjoy and experience his own types of success and hopefully manage to one day make his own way in a world which may not fully understand him.
Along with the autism, Ezra refuses to eat, and does not respond to others in the home on a consistent basis. Ezra has a sibling (brother Griffin), but struggles to fit in. Cohen discusses their move to a new town and their attempts to arrange play dates for Ezra to try and get him engaged in the community. She realizes that Ezra’s world is a closed door with slivers of light escaping around the door frame. She cherishes the moments when he is able to share a real personal connection with her, but is never sure whether that connection has the same meaning for Ezra.
Cohen is an expert at laying her emotions bare for the reader to interpret any way they prefer. Well-meaning people come up to her in public all the time to tell her that her son is autistic or to give her advice on what to do about it. Seeing Ezra explains that nothing can be “done” about autism; it is an aspect of her son’s and her family’s life and they deal with it the best they can.
Although there are many children with autism around the world, each child is different and each parent’s concerns are different. The parents of autistic children never get a day’s peace or a moment’s rest. They worry if others will mistreat their child, or whether the child will ever be loved outside of the nuclear family unit.
I’d recommend Seeing Ezra to anyone with a special needs child and to anyone interested in learning about the life of a parent with an autistic spectrum child. The story is heartwarming and Cohen is a loving and caring mother who never gives up on her son or their family.
After a decade of working in several NYC law departments and teaching, Poppy decided she enjoyed writing full-time. She currently works as a freelance writing consultant, and lives with her husband and sons on the East Coast.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Seal Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.