When Ben Underwood became blind at the age of two, anyone would have thought he faced a life full of hardship and uphill challenges—a world full of things he’d never be able to see and activities he’d never be able to enjoy. But as far as his mom, Aquanetta Gordon, was concerned, nothing was impossible for Ben . . . and so he accomplished the incredible. Known as “the boy who could see with sound,” Ben mastered human echolocation—the ability to detect the size, shape and location of objects through the reflection of sound waves. By clicking his tongue and “seeing” the waves, Ben could ride his bike, shoot baskets, identify objects, and even play video games. Some called it a miracle, but to Ben and Aqua, the real miracles were the otherworldly experiences God gave Ben—physical and spiritual—that others couldn’t explain. Echoes of an Angel is the remarkable true story of how a child who seemed destined for darkness brought light to the world. It’s the story of a single mom who encouraged her son to push beyond his limits, even as her heart clenched with protective love and fear. And it’s the story of a family’s unshakable faith . . . in God and each other.
Echoes of an Angel is one of those books that I downloaded because it was free. Recently I was coming home from vacation with my family and noticed it on my ipad. I remembered being intrigued by the synopsis, so I thought that I would give it a try. I was not prepared for the emotional journey that I would be taking in the hours and pages to come.
Admittedly, Echoes starts out a little slow. The story is told in first person from the perspective of his mother, Aquanetta Gordon. In giving background to the years before Ben was born and lost his sight, she is honest about some of the lifestyle choices that she made. (At one point I asked myself, “Is this really a Christian book?”) But once Ben enters the picture and loses his sight, I was sucked into their world.
I have always loved reading stories of people who face and overcome great challenges. It was remarkable to read how both Ben and his mother refused to let what some would call a great disability handicap him, and I found myself cheering for him as he grew and accomplished more things. But the story is not without it’s moments of grief. Without giving too much away, I found myself sobbing at the end. And for the record, books normally don’t make me cry. That should tell you how much this one touched me.
If you are inspired by hearing how ordinary people have overcome extraordinary events, this book is for you. I hope it challenges you as much as it challenged me.
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