Book Review: Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius

ghost boy

Reviewed by: Steph
Genre: Biography
Format: Softcover
Page count: 304 Pages
Rating: 3/5 stars
In stock: Yes

Before I dive into my thoughts on this biography, as per usual, here’s a summarized Goodread’s synopsis on the book:

“In January 1988 Martin Pistorius, aged twelve, fell inexplicably sick. First he lost his voice and stopped eating. Then he slept constantly and shunned human contact. Doctors were mystified. Within eighteen months he was mute and wheelchair-bound. Martin’s parents were told an unknown degenerative disease left him with the mind of a baby and less than two years to live.

[…]Ghost Boy is the heart-wrenching story of one boy’s return to life through the power of love and faith. In these pages, readers see a parent’s resilience, the consequences of misdiagnosis, abuse at the hands of cruel caretakers, and the unthinkable duration of Martin’s mental alertness betrayed by his lifeless body.”
What immediately piqued my interest about this book was Martin’s unexplainable illness, and the horrifying idea that he was trapped inside his own body. The thought of being trapped inside of your own body is terrifying. As the story goes on, you learn that Martin carries on through this journey with strength and passion. I admired his perseverance despite all of the large obstacles that had laid in front of him. His story gave you hope for his recovery, and every time Martin had a success or a failure, you really felt his struggles as if you were there experiencing it alongside him.


I also really enjoyed the fact that Martin didn’t cut out any details – some parts of this book were a bit graphic, but given the fact that he was wheelchair bound, sometimes the facts were, well, unavoidable. I can imagine that giving light to living with disabilities, degenerative diseases, or whatever one can deal with that leaves them mute and powerless to move, is nothing but helpful, educational, and very important for society to read and understand.

The only idea that I didn’t immediately click with in this biography was how Martin heavily relied on his faith to get him through his life challenges. However, despite my own personal views, he describes and talks about his faith in an incredible way; I would imagine that most, if not anybody of any faith could relate to Martin’s faith and how it helps and encourages him to push through the obstacles that lay before him.


All in all, if you want a powerful, motivating, and very personal read, then I would definitely recommend Ghost Boy. His journey explains in detail how he got from point A to point B; it is definitely very empowering. It allows us to feel as if our problems are null, and that anything is possible if you believe enough.

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