Reading Challenge – A Book Based on a True Story

Book Number Thirteen – Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius with Megan Lloyd Davies.


The first I ever heard of Martin Pistorius was on the NPR podcast. The story fascinated me and I instantly set about seeking the book. It took me a while to but I came across a copy in my local branch of Waterstones.

Ghost Boy follows Martin who was a healthy, normal little boy, then one day he suddenly becomes tired and starts sleeping all the time. Pretty soon he can’t talk or move, his feet and hands curl up and no matter where his parent’s take him the Dr’s don’t seem have an answer as to what his caused his condition. Now reading this you can empathise that this would definitely be upsetting for his parents, watching their child become so changed overnight but imagine for a second if everyone around you thought that you couldn’t understand what was happening to you? This was the case with the Martin.

People looked past him, beyond him and through him. They believed he was incapable of communication or understanding but he was incredibly aware. The novel tells Martin’s story of the frustration and battle he faced on a daily basis as he urged his brain to make his body work to his will. As well as for making an inspiring read this book also makes for an often painful one, as Martin recalls the times when he was mistreated, spoken down to and even sexually abused by those who were meant to support, protect and care for him. He also discusses how his condition impacted his mother and father and his siblings, this in itself can make tears prick the corner of your eyes.

Honest, inspiring and heart-breaking, this is a great book and one that will make you appreciate the simple things we take for granted in life like speech. Although an uplifting story, I feel that the latter chapters seemed to focus more on Joanna than Martin, and whilst I appreciate she gave him belief and strength, it also overshadowed all the hard work he put into getting his life back.

‘I wasn’t just a ghost boy. But no one looked’


Star Rating out of 5: 4

Happy reading my fellow bookworms.