Oregon Book Awards Finalist: Seeing Ezra

You can cast your vote for the 2013 Readers' Choice Award online at oregonlive.com/books. VOTING ENDS TODAY, APRIL 1ST!   The winner will be announced at the Oregon Book Awards ceremony on April 8th at the Gerding Theater at the Armory.

2013 Oregon Book Awards Finalist
Seeing Ezra: A Mother's Story of Autism, Unconditional Love, and the Meaning of Normal by Kerry Cohen

Seal Press

Creative Nonfiction

Seeing Ezra is the soulful story of a mother's fierce love for her autistic son, and a poignant examination of what it means to be "normal."

An excerpt from Seeing Ezra
Here is Ezra: He digs his hands into the sand and watches as it pours through his fingers. He runs through the water, giggling. He takes fist after fist of wet sand and slaps it on his thighs, burying himself beneath it. He is so beautiful, my boy. Apple-round cheeks, shocking blue eyes, blond hair in the sun, chubby and pink, even without the food I so desperately need him to eat. I want Michael and me to be good enough for him. I want to keep him safe, keep him happy. I want him to love himself, with all his quirky ways and funny flapping arms, as much as we do.

         He laughs and laughs as Michael chases him in circles. Then Michael picks him up. Ezra holds Michael's face between his two dimpled hands and gazes like a lover into his eyes. Michael carries him through the water, and Ezra looks out seriously at the vast lake, the sunlight broken and shimmering across it. I can't know what he's thinking. I can't know what will come, where he'll wind up. I can't know if he'll be loved, if he'll find some measure of success. He is my son, my everything, but he is not mine. He will grow in this world beside Michael and me. He will make his way. Somehow, somehow. We cannot save him from hard times. We cannot relieve him of pain. We will have to stand by, our arms useless at our sides, and simply watch.

About the Author
Kerry Cohen has authored six books - Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity, Seeing Ezra, Dirty Little Secrets, and three young adult novels.  She has been an Oregon Book Award Finalist four times.  She lives in Portland with the author James Frost and their four children.

Praise for Seeing Ezra
"Most mothers have a few things in their arsenal to make the job go easier: instincts, honesty, and devotion.  Some mothers, like Cohen, have even more: fierceness, attachment, and plain bravery.  Seeing Ezra is the story of motherhood beyond all reserves.  Bravo to Cohen for giving us such a deep, rich tale of motherhood." --Vicki Forman, author of This Lovely Life

"Cohen writes an intense and penetrating story about the challenges of being the mother of a child who is classified outside the boundary of so-called 'normal.'  Her honesty is gripping and heartbreaking, her struggles are laid bare for the reader, and her perseverence--on behalf of her child--is inspiring." --Jennifer Lauck, author of the memoirs Found and Blackbird

"[Cohen] effortlessly transcends her personal story to show how we all are affected by traditional definitions of 'normal.'" --Brenda Miller, author of Blessing of the Animals and Seasons of the Body

"With unflinching honesty and immeasurable grace, Cohen leads the reader through the experience of parenting a different child....It is a story skillfully told by a mother who understands her son for who he is and for what he brings to the world on his own terms." --Robert Rummel-Hudson, author of Schuyler's Monster

Suggested Links
Kerry Cohen's website

Buy the Book
Powell's Books