Monday, November 8, 2010

Review: Kasey to the Rescue

Kasey to the Rescue: The Remarkable Story of a Monkey and a Miracle by Ellen Rogers

Publication Date: November 2010
Publisher: Hyperion
Format: Hard Cover, 288 pp
Genre: Memoir
ISBN-13: 9781401323417
ISBN: 1401323413

Purchase at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound

(Review Copy acquired Via the Shelf Awareness newsletter)

Synopsis (Book Blurb):

The remarkable and surprising story of how a capuchin monkey brought hope, humor, and happiness to a family facing their greatest challenge

A single mother of five, Ellen Rogers had endured her fair share of tragedy, having lost both a husband and stepdaughter to cancer. But nothing could have prepared her for the June 2005 car accident that left her son Ned - then twenty-two years old, a quadriplegic with a brain injury.

The road to recovery was long and discouraging, but then Helping Hands Monkey Helpers for the Disabled stepped in to provide Ned with a service animal to help him cope with his disabilities. Kasey - an adorable, fun-loving capuchin monkey - helped Ned and his family to see the world in a new way.

In this extraordinary memoir, told with equal parts heart and humor, author Ellen Rogers paints a vivid portrait of a large and loving family, and the challenges that they faced together. Kasey to the Rescue follows them from the phone call that changed her son's life to the monkey play that led to Ned's increased mobility. The story of an ordinary family thrust into extraordinary circumstances, this inspiring book proves that old adage, where there's life, there's hope.


Author Ellen Rogers is no stranger to tragedy. After losing both her husband and stepdaughter to cancer she was devastated when her twenty-two year old son was nearly killed in an auto accident. Left a quadriplegic with a serious brain injury, Ned was having trouble coping with his injuries when he was given a service animal to help him cope. Not just any service animal, a capuchin monkey named Kasey. Being a single mother with five children and one seriously disabled Ellen couldn't believe the difference that Kasey made in their lives.

Rogers' memoir is both heartbreaking and encouraging. It proves that where there is life there is hope, but also that where there's a will, there's a way. Roger's gives great detail to the tremendous changes her family went through following Ned's accident and Kasey's coming to join their home. She doesn't try to make it seem like everything is perfect or that it is easy to deal with, when something like this happens. It's devastating and changes your entire outlook on life, but she shares her pain and her triumphs with the reader. What would you do if it were your child?

I thought the author was believable and authentic. She didn't try to sugarcoat or attempt to make us feel like they never had to worry again after Kasey's arrival. But she showed the readers how much Kasey helped Ned and brought a new kind of joy and happiness to their family in the midst of the greatest struggle of their life. I felt for her being a single mother myself and because I have a service animal of my own. I know how this mom must have been feeling. I don't know if I could do without my service dog, she means the world to me and has given me a greater quality of life than I was able to have before. But even more, she gives me love, and Kasey did that for Ned.

Rogers also let the reader know that taking care of a service animal like Kasey isn't like taking care of the family pet. Kasey required a special diet, specific hygiene requirements and lots of attention. At the heart of this story was how Kasey was able to do something for Ned that the doctors didn't even believe was possible. The doctors were skeptical that Ned would even live, let alone live a normal life. He wouldn't be able to breath or talk on his own and he definitely wouldn't be able to move, but they were wrong, Ned can do all this thanks to a little monkey named Kasey. This was such an inspirational book. Not only from the standpoint of the service animal but for Ellen herself. She is a great inspiration too, taking on so much to care for son. A hero in my book!

Kasey to the rescue is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

You might want to buy this book...

-if you enjoy memoirs or non-fiction accounts
-if you have a service animal or like stories about them
-if you have had a spinal cord injury or know someone who does

You might want to borrow this book from the library before you buy it...

-if you aren't a fan of real-life stories or memoirs
-if you are looking for something with a lighter subject matter
-if you don't enjoy a book that makes you cry when you read it

A former marketing executive, Ellen Rogers is a mother of five who lives with her family, their two dogs, and one little monkey in Concord, Massachusetts. This is her first book.