Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius: A Book Review

_140_245_Book.1001.coverThey all thought he was gone. But he was alive and trapped inside his own body for ten years.

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.

Martin was moved to care centers for severely disabled children. The stress and heartache shook his parents’ marriage and their family to the core. Their boy was gone. Or so they thought.

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.

We also see a life reclaimed—a business created, a new love kindled—all from a wheelchair. Martin’s emergence from his own darkness invites us to celebrate our own lives and fight for a better life for others.


Imagine being a normal, healthy twelve year old boy. Then imagine becoming ill one day and slowly losing every bit of who you are, only to “awaken” years later and not be able to communicate to anyone that you are truly alive and present. Martin’s story is incredible. Left completely helpless, mute and unable to communicate, he was just a shell of his former self. Until one day, he started to come back to the world.

Martin takes us on his journey through his years of being the “Ghost Boy” to his re-entry into life, to his inspiring and courageous battle to overcome all the obstacles and barriers that have held him back for far too long.

This isn’t just a story about one boy and one tragic set of circumstances. It’s a story about humanity, courage, kindness, hope, determination and faith. In this book we see what people are made of. We see those who are cruel, unfeeling and unquestionably sick-natured, but we also see those who are kind, compassionate and full of love. Martin has a very unique perspective on life. He’s had the opportunity to see the very best of people and the very worst. He’s been completely alone within himself, yet he knew he was not alone. His faith in God and the knowledge that God was with him, when no one else could be, was incredible and beautiful.

I couldn’t begin to imagine what it would be like to truly be “invisible” to the world around you. To be able to hear, understand and feel, but to not be able to communicate in any way with anyone. To be helpless in the face of abuse. To never be able to make a decision for yourself. To be trapped.

Martin is the very definition of over-comer. He defines strength, determination and character. His story is amazing. He is amazing. He inspires me to have a different perspective on life and to never look at any obstacle as being too big. Thank you, Martin for sharing your incredible story with the world.

*I received a copy of this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review from BookLook Bloggers and Thomas Nelson.



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