Voracious readers often will forget the contents of a book unless it meets certain conditions that make it memorable. Playing into that mix, as a rule, is it being especially well written and entertaining or something that touches one’s very soul and imparts something of value they may be shared with others or put into use in one’s everyday life.
Living Life with Autism: The World Through My Eyes, a book written by Marc William Pulver with Robert Shostak, is the latter. While it is intentionally not well written, that is part of its charm. With the help of a retired education professor, Shostak, Pulver tells the story of his life dealing with and growing up with minimal brain damage later diagnosed as autism when he was applying for an insurance policy as an adult. Spelling mistakes and other noticeable errors are left as written effectively giving the reader a better understanding of how Marc’s mind works.
The book is an insightful journey with into the world of autism that leaves one with a better understanding of how parents, like Marc’s, have navigated unknown waters and prevailed against all odds. You see, Pulver suffered oxygen deprivation at birth resulting in developmental problems.
When doctors suggested that he be institutionalized, his courageous and amazing parents looked elsewhere and turned to the Institute for the Achievement for Human Potential in Philadelphia. His mother, Sybil Pulver, began with countless hours of therapy one of which was an exercise for his eyes to perfect stereoscopic vision making trips to Philadelphia every three months for three years.
As Marc was growing up with his therapies in Philadelphia completed, Sybil used every single moment as a teachable one while his dad was his best friend and put him to work. To this day Sybil continues this mission and recounts, “My mouth never stops with Marc and I am not a big talker. I am surprised the kid didn’t put a gag on me. To this day when we go shopping to buy our own things, I constantly discuss and point out things as we shop. Afterwards, he will make a comment like ‘thanks, Mom, I had a good time and learned a lot today.’”
In this book, Marc shares his experiences — good and bad — with amazing recall, something not uncommon for those with autism spectrum disorder. The reader learns how the positive influence and incredible efforts of his loving parents and siblings impacted his life and how grateful he is for that support.
While Marc’s words have a child-like quality, he ultimately comes across as a person with good common sense who has an incredible appreciation for his family who gave him the platform to conquer his challenges: from receiving his driver’s license, writing his bar mitzvah speech, being a water boy for the football team when he couldn’t make the team, to volunteering to help the homeless and taking great trips with his parents.
After reading this book, you will be enamored of this fine man and feel a kinship to this remarkable family. Those dealing with or who have friends, relatives or children with autism spectrum disorder will find this book inspiring and full of useful information.
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