Monday, August 4, 2014
Scott LeRette with Susy flory
Thomas Nelson Publishers
November 11, 2014
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.