30.6.15

Faith, Hope, and Love: A Book Review of Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius

by Sally Matheny

Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius
 At age twelve, Martin Pistorius slowly slipped from perfect health into an unknown illness. His body weakened and his memories faded. After his parents exhausted all medical avenues for an answer, they painfully watched their boy become a mute, quadriplegic.


For four years, Martin was in a waking coma state in an unresponsive shell, unseeing and unknowing of his surroundings.

Then, his mind slowly woke up. But, his body did not.

For ten years, his mind was completely aware—aware that he was trapped inside an unresponsive body and unable to communicate with others. Martin wasn't paralyzed, but no matter how hard he tried, he had no control of his spastic muscles, his curled fingers, or the voice that disappeared with his childhood.


Most of us can’t begin to grasp what it’s like to have no physical control of our bodies. Nor can we fully comprehend the horror and painful realities of someone, with a fully intact mind,  encased in a silent shell.

For someone who went fourteen years unable to express his emotions, Martin Pistorius pushes full-throttle and exquisitely conveys them in his book.

Tension builds in Martin’s tedious days. In the midst of his sorrow he snatches the tiniest glimmers of joy. Hence, a courage develops, as does hope.

Martin inserts a great sense of humor in spots. I was thankful for them, especially after reading the difficult passages.

I cringed at what Martin had to endure at times. I believe a note for reader discretion is needed for the chapter titled, “Lurking in Plain Sight.” I hated reading it—and rightly so. And yet, had Martin not been so painfully transparent about his darkest days of torture, his story would be incomplete. Nor would I have fully appreciated his joy when he survived and overcame.

This is not an overtly Christian book. There are two or three points of faith shared—but they are profound and powerful.

The most amazing one is where Martin shares about God’s presence with him. He never had church worship experiences or even Christian training prior to his illness. Nevertheless, when his mind awoke inside his unresponsive body, he is aware God is with him. Martin sharing about that relationship is one of my favorite parts of the entire book.

Martin Pistorius as a young teen

The story unfolds of Martin’s amazing journey from being like a “potted plant” to living a full and productive life. All because of one person noticing a flicker of life in him and opening a door of opportunity. Martin expresses appreciation to many but he is certain of who he owes the most gratitude.

In a May 2015 interview with Christianity Today, Martin said,

Without the Lord, I would not be here today. I have no doubt that it was only his intervention that saved me. It is only through God that I have found my voice.”

In the book, Martin shares the joys and fears of learning how to communicate once again. His life changed. He got a job, a college degree, started his own business and married the love of his life.

This book inspires me to take the time to look more intentionally at people—especially those who seemingly fly under the radar. You don’t have to have a health condition to feel invisible.

Time after time, Martin shares how the power of one tiny act of kindness, one caring word spoken, or one consideration of his heart rather than his body, had a huge effect on his life.

I recommend this book. Martin Pistorius’ story will take you into the uncomfortable pit of darkness and encourage you to grasp hold of life-giving faith, hope, and love.


A Smiling Martin Pistorius- Twitter Photo


If you’d like to hear Martin Pistorius speak briefly about forgiveness and compassion listen to this interview with Glen Beck on YouTube.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHXFSL6x-XU

Also, you may be interested in reading my interview with Joanna Pistorius, Martin's wife.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”





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