Thanks to christianaudio.com Reviewer's Program for this copy.
"The evolution of a man's perspective about life and what is important is captured beautifully in this true accounting of a unique family with a very unique son to raise. I loved the honesty in the telling of the early years with all the struggle that comes along with a son with a rare condition and autism to top it off. But the salvation is in the recognition that we are able to learn from our struggles, learn from those we may think we can't learn from. Maybe rather than trying to make them more like us we need to recognize the wisdom of becoming more like them. I have a friend with a unique son too and I know she will read this and identify with practically every page. But the message is broader than autism and brittle bone disease. There is nothing that God will waste. There is no one that God will waste. The only question is will we waste the opportunity to learn and grow and get closer to the One who made us?"
-- Lindy Boone
Author of Heaven Hears: The True Story of What Happened When Pat Boone Asked the World to Pray for His Grandson's Survival
It isn't often that a man shares the full story; the hard and even grievous parts of becoming the father his special needs child deserves. Unbreakable Boy is about a dad and son each growing into the lives God ordained for them, together. If you want to be challenged and encouraged, read this book about a breakable family who becomes anchored in an unbreakable God.
-- Gillian Marchenko, author of Sun Shine Down, parent to two kids with special needs
"The Unbreakable Boy isn't really about a boy. It's about an entire family, formed by accident, marked by trials, and sustained by faith. While the book centers on Scott LeRette's quirky son, Austin, LeRette has his own unconventional perspective, offering a fresh, funny, sincere take on familiar struggles, with autism and addiction, illness and isolation, complacency and cynicism. His family's story reminds us that being "unbreakable" isn't about being free of pain, but about remaining open to the miracles of love and grace even, or especially, in hard times."
-- Ellen Painter Dollar, Writer
Author of No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Parenthood, and Faith in an Age of Advanced Reproduction
(Westminster John Knox, 2012)
"Austin's story reminded me that God intricately and intentionally designed each one of us for his wonderful purposes. As a mom, I was empowered to simply place the hopes, dreams, future and lives of my kids at His feet and then prayerfully watch miracles unfold. As an educator, this story inspired me to see that child's unique God-given gifts, talents and even struggles work together to reveal incredible potential when nurtured. And as a woman, I was moved by this heart-wrenching, make-me-laugh, make-me-cry, make-me-want-to-be-better story that gave me a glimpse of the incredible power and creativity that is our God."
-- Erin MacPherson, author of The Christian Mama's Guide Series (Thomas Nelson, 2013) and Senior Editor at WeAreTeachers.com
"This endearing story of a young boy’s journey of self-discovery, perseverance, and hope, is woven together perfectly and is filled with memorable moments that will make you laugh, cry, and believe that all things are possible.”
– Braxton A. Cosby, award-wining author of Protostar
“Sign me up for Team Austin. Not that he needs anymore cheerleaders (he has plenty of those!) but his unquenchable spirit and fierce determination, (not to mention his ability pull off big hats,) are the traits I want to grow in my life. And Austin? He’s the teacher I want to keep learning from. This powerful story of unending hope will help you see the limitless possibilities for your own life –and your family.”
-- Kathi Lipp, Author of I Need Some Help Here: Hope for When Your Kids Don’t Go According to Plan and The Cure for the Perfect Life
"The Unbreakable Boy is a riveting and incredible story about not one unbreakable boy, but two. It is a tale which will keep you spellbound right from the first page as Scott LeRette tells you about two life journeys with many twists and turns. I couldn’t put the book down until I got to the last page and then I still wanted more.
As usual, Susy Flory has helped craft a gem, “a page turner” as Larry King said about Susy’s and my effort, Thunder Dog. The Unbreakable Boy is a must read for every reader who wants to grow and be drawn into a world that will help them learn more about themselves and how to live a better life. You will find that Austin is not the one with the real handicap, but rather it is all of us who impose artificial and breakable limits on him and others like him. Read The Unbreakable Boy with an open mind and imagination and don’t let your sight and prejudices get in the way of your vision."
– Michael Hingson, author of New York Times Bestseller Thunderdog
"The Unbreakable Boy shares the incredible story of Austin LeRette, a young man with autism and a genetic brittle bone disease. Austin lives his life as an example of the greatest lesson of all; that no matter how hard our journey is or how big the pain we suffer the truest definition of the word unbreakable is a family who loves one another and leans on God together."
-- Joanne Kraft, author of Just Too Busy- Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical and The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids
"The Unbreakable Boy is a memoir that offers even more to readers than an intimate look at the challenges – as well as the joy and epiphanies – which parents who are raising children with autism encounter. It’s also about a beautiful, hopeful marriage that remains strong in spite of almost every imaginable hardship and trauma including addiction, financial and emotional meltdowns, and the strain of parenting a medically fragile child. Read it and be reminded that 'grace changes everything'."
-- Jennifer Grant, author of Love You More, MOMumental, Disquiet Time, and Wholehearted Living
It was graduation weekend. I walked up to Austin's house where all the festivities were going on celebrating him and there he was sitting on the retaining wall of their driveway.
"Congrats Austin! I'm so proud of you. How are you today?"
"My butt hurts and my back hurts."
And that's just Austin, no pretense, no guessing games. 100 percent real. One of the many reasons I love that kid.
10 minutes later he was sitting by me chomping on some candy and telling me all about his party and thanking me for coming.
What a guy.
When Scott (the dad and author) let me know he was writing a book on Austin and their family I was delighted. I also knew I'd be requesting a review copy as soon as it was ready.
Unbreakable Boy is the story of "unconditional love", the story of a father and his son.
Born with a rare brittle-bone disease and autistic Austin is defined by none of his diagnoses and he's broken every box he's been asked to fit in. He is unique, he is challenging, he is loved. He is also a popular fixture in our town and at my church.
Scott does a beautiful job of weaving the tale of Austin. It's told with such honesty and candor I'll admit I started this late at night and finished it a few hours later, well into the early morning hours. Thoughts of sleep and my agenda for the morning flew out the window as I entered the life of the LeRette family.
I personally have known Austin and his family for a number of years now. Austin loves my parents "Pastor and Connie" and for years just referred to me as "Connie's daughter". Seen in our church and around town wearing one of his wacky hats Austin makes a statement everywhere he goes. I remembered a number of the stories from later in the book and will never forget the first time Austin raised his hands in worship in our church. It was both touching and hilarious, as Scott describes so well.
This book is both inspiring and challenging. I'll be honest and say that I truly did laugh out loud, and cry a couple times too. I so appreciate Scott's openness with the reality of life with Austin. It's challenging, sometimes achingly so, it's also beautiful. Written in a timeline way that doesn't make you feel like you're reading a timeline you'll love the way the story weaves together. From Scott meeting his wife to Austin's birth to the realization that something wasn't quite right with Austin all the way to him going to prom, the story just keeps on getting better and better. It's captivating.
This book has no obvious agenda other than to tell the story of Austin and his dad. Autism is mentioned but not parked on. As the reader, you can't help, however, be intrigued by autism as well as the brittle bone disease.
Throughout the entire book is the very obvious thread of God's grace. Austin loves his Jesus and that love of his Creator has been modeled by two parents who came broken and needy before the throne of grace. You'll love how God woes Scott in particular.
While it was particularly heart-warming for me to read about a boy and a family I know personally and love so dearly I can promise you you don't have to know them to love them and love this book. I read it and passed it on and everyone who has had it in their hands has become instantly engrossed and fallen in love with Austin.
I highly recommending going over to Amazon to pre-order this book today. It's a story so sweetly written that I know you'll want to read over and over and over again. And if you're passing through Red Oak, Iowa, head to our local grocery store. You just might see Austin carrying out groceries and making everyone he comes in contact with smile just a little brighter. He's just that kind of kid and it's just that kind of story.
My sincere thanks to Thomas Nelson publishers for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my real and honest review.
-- Melissa J. MacDonald