Wes Scott, a teenage boy on the autism spectrum, tells us in his own words about his struggles to cope with a chaotic, confusing, and scary world—while his family tries to handle both living with an autistic child and a Marine father who returns from Iraq debilitated by wounds and suffering PTSD.
Wesley Scott is a teenage boy with autism. He lives within his own intimate realm of sensory overload, dysfunction, sometimes violence, and fear of the outside world. He describes himself as the only actor on a stage without a script. We learn through Wes’ own words that he is a deep, thoughtful young man…but no one knows it.
Wes is unable to connect with anyone other than his father, a captain in the Marine Corps. He in turn adores his extraordinary son, his “Ex-man,” as he fondly calls him. When Captain Scott ships off to fight in the Middle East, Wes is confused and senses foreboding in what it all means, although he cannot express it to his family, friends, or teachers.
With his father overseas, Wes finds himself further isolated in a world of “Ords” (his dad’s term for the ordinaries, unlike his “Ex” son) and a stranger in his own family. His mother is distant and cold, his high school brother resents the inordinate attention his autistic brother constantly steals from him, and his twenty-something sister has chosen to move away from it all to Manhattan. The burden on the family gets exponentially worse when Captain Scott returns home wounded. The family tries to cope as best they can, but when his father succumbs to PTSD, Wes must somehow make sense of all that has happened—which is difficult for a teenager under normal conditions, let alone one on the autism spectrum who’s suddenly lost the only family member who ever really bothered to know him.
The Scotts seem on the verge of unraveling and Wes finds himself in a bewildering land of family turmoil. How will Wes come to understand this tragedy? And how will the family ever come to fill the void left by a father who understood what the rest have yet to discover…that Wes is an extraordinary young man indeed. And that all of us, no matter how much the world seems to scorn our existence—or has simply forgotten our pain—have something extraordinary to offer and make that world a better place.
Extraordinary is not just the title of this book—it’s a description of the beauty within the pages.
Brad Schaeffer is an author, columnist, commodities trader, and musician. His eclectic writings, covering a broad spectrum of topics including history, the arts, politics, science, business, pop culture, and general observations on life, have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, New York Daily News, National Review, Daily Wire, and others. He is the author of the historical novel Of Another Time and Place, about a German flying ace who chooses to commit treason to rescue a family of Jews from the Nazis during the height of World War II. He currently lives in New Jersey.