In June of 2005, Ellen Rogers’ son Ned was severely injured in a car accident. Rogers’ memoir, Kasey to the Rescue, tells the tale of how one little monkey became a part of a family during a dark time and helped to change the lives of everyone in their house. It was by chance that Helping Hands traveled to the school of one of Rogers’ daughters for a presentation on what they do and how they help those who have suffered from spinal cord injuries or are mobility impaired. In December of 2006, Kasey, a Capuchin monkey, came to live with the Rogers as Ned’s helper monkey.
At times heartbreaking and harrowing, Rogers’ memoir is poignant and inspiring. While detailing the family’s changes in light of Ned’s injury, Rogers interweaves Kasey’s tale along with their own. The way that she details their life changes along with Kasey’s and then details where they intersect is a great way to format the story. I particularly like that Rogers doesn’t attempt to downplay the complexity of the relationship they must develop with Kasey. She doesn’t attempt to convince readers that life is perfect and there were no bumps in the road to both coming to terms with Ned’s injury and Kasey’s arrival in their lives. She details tragedies and triumphs and failures and successes. And she does it with a sense of humor. She talks about her exhaustion in both Ned and Kasey’s care, but she also says what any mother knows. When it is your child, you just do it.
I also like that Rogers continues to keep in the forefront that while Kasey seems fun and cute, she is a service animal. Kasey’s purpose is to help Ned to be more independent; she is NOT a pet. Rogers does this by detailing the work required to maintain Kasey’s health through diet and hygiene. The stories are both funny and serve to reinforce the fact that Kasey’s needs are very specific and care for her is not to be taken lightly.
At the base of the story is how Kasey helped Ned to do what doctors said would never happen. They said it didn’t look like he would survive; he did. They said he wouldn’t be able to breathe on his own; he does. They said he wouldn’t be able to talk on his own; he does. And they said he wouldn’t be able to move on his own; and he does.
I highly recommend Ellen Rogers’ memoir. It is a quick read and an amazing one. I read it in one sitting, not wanting to take a break. Rogers writes from the heart about the ups and downs of their new lives (both before Kasey and after).
My last recommendation is this: have a tissue handy. You will need it to wipe both the tears from sadness and laughter that Rogers brings about.
Robin Gwaro is a founding book review blogger at Bookgateway.com and has generously supplied this review. She describes herself as “a woman just trying to keep it all together. Most days, I have the juggling act down! Others, I have the broom and dustpan handy to clean up the mess. My life is not always easy, it is not always neat, but it is always worth every minute!” Her personal blog is Just Wandering. Not Lost.
This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.
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