on May 4, 2009
For anyone who knows someone with Tourette's Syndrome, has a relative with Tourette's Syndrome or has ever wondered about this difficult neurological disorder, this book is a must read. My son has the same condition as Cory in the book. Reading the book was uplifting to me and a good reminder of exactly what my son goes through every waking moment. I have done copious amounts of research into these conditions ever since my son was diagnosed at 5 years of age, but this book still taught me some new things. The way it is written, I think almost everyone would find it hard to put down.
Tourette's Syndrome is described as a significant neural-psychiatric disorder that involves the involuntary expresssion of motor and phonic tics. It is regarded as part of the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder family. Its victims usually manifest behaviour that is repetitive, disturbing and sometimes injurious to themselves. It is usually inherited at birth and diminishes by adulthood. Patterson's story about the extended ordeal of the Friedman family in an effort to find a cure for this disorder in their son, Cory, is one truly amazing story of courage, determination, and grace. In this narrative account of this protracted fight to win the battle against Tourette's, Patterson tells the story through Cory's eyes, from five years on to university. The reader gets to see how painfully awkward, down-right frightening, and socially restrictive this disorder can be to someone who otherwise is a healthy and intelligent boy looking forward to living a normal life. Cory shares what it is like to be tormented by peers who view these sudden spells of inexplicable convulsing as acts of entertainment, punished by teachers who see verbal outbursts in classes as acts of attention-seeking, and rebuked by coaches who regard these tics on the field as bad for team morale. While Cory and his parents struggle to make sense of his mysterious affliction, he is being plugged with some very powerful and scary antipsychotic drugs to control his ticcing. He even resorts to smoking and binge drinking to dull the anxiety and trauma that comes with having a disorder where any small sensation can set him off. All through the story, the Friedmans resist the urge to give up on helping their son overcome these urges and, in the end, their persistance pays off. Cory finally finds the therapy that supplies him with some critical personal management skills that are needed for regaining control of his own mental and physical environment. It is this triumphal part of the story that makes it worth reading.