Making Lemonade With Ben

Making Lemonade With Ben

The Audacity to Cope

Non-Fiction - Inspirational
414 Pages
Reviewed on 03/28/2013
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Author Biography

Wisconsin woman, Katherine Perreth, graduated from UW-Madison in 1983 with Social Work and Sociology degrees.
She spent three exceedingly educational years in Nagasaki, Japan. For the last twenty, she's lived with her family in the home she grew up in, just outside Madison.
Katherine is a reporter for her hometown newspaper, administrative assistant, and facilitator of a reminiscence writing class.
She loves Bucky Badger, lavender, mysteries, the Packers, dark chocolate and the sight, sounds, and smells of cows. Not necessarily in that order.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite

Seven-year-old Ben Perreth is found in a coma. He suffers a mysterious brain hemorrhage and even his neurosurgeon does not expect him to survive the surgery that has to be done on him immediately. What follows is a series of mental health and disability issues that will profoundly affect his family and the little boy himself. This is his story as told by his mother. The 30 chapters of this book chronicle their lives as they go through the depths of despair to the pinnacle of triumph in fighting this challenge. Can Ben and his family triumph over the debilitating physical and emotional upheaval?

"Making Lemonade with Ben: The Audacity to Cope" is an extraordinary story of a little boy's resolve to overcome a debilitating disease. After what seems like an impossible situation, Ben and his family struggle for sixteen years trying to overcome the odds. They simply refuse to give up and the family insists on living a happy life. It is amazing how Katherine Perreth's engaging sense of humor shines through even in the most difficult of situations. Refusing to resort to self pity, they fought the disease with a combination of determination, persistence and humor. This book is a frank and candid chronicle of coping with mental illness in the family. The author succeeds in removing the stigma that comes with mental illness. With refreshing candor, through this narrative Perreth proves that people with disabilities and mental illness can do something fulfilling with their lives. Above all, this inspiring story proves that love, mixed with a healthy dose of humor, can conquer all.

Kathryn Bennett

"Making Lemonade With Ben: The Audacity to Cope" by Katherine Perreth is a chronicle of woe and triumph. Ben was found in a coma when he was seven years old and the story follows the next sixteen years with his family. Katherine Perreth reveals the mental, emotional and physical effects that this has on Ben and the family. The coma left Ben with many disabilities, and his mom explains how they handled the downs and ups, including the triumph of Ben’s invitation to Washington DC.



"Making Lemonade with Ben" was a book that made me laugh and it made me cry. Katherine Perreth really opens up and brings you into her life and her family’s, to show you how they coped. Ben is a strong individual and what he goes through makes you feel connected to him. I also felt deeply connected with his family. So many people forget when a family member is seriously hurt, and has to deal with complicated disabilities, that it is not only the injured who have to deal with it. What I took away from "Making Lemonade with Ben" was that no matter what we have to handle in life we can overcome. While there is sadness and hardship in this book there is most of all hope and triumph, a thread that reminds us love can overcome everything. You really can take lemons and make lemonade. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a good and true story that will stick with them.

Anne Boling

"Making Lemonade With Ben: The Audacity to Cope" written by Katherine Perreth, brought both tears and smiles to my face. Ben is a remarkable person. As a child he showed little fear and would try anything. His father nicknamed him Mr. SeeDo. "If it could be thought, it could be done, it could be said and it was." Looking back his parents Dan and Katherine remember he seemed subdued the evening of his baby sister’s first birthday. Later that night the nightmare began. After finding him unresponsive and vomiting his parents called 911. The Neurosurgeon offered little hope of survival, however, Ben did survive. Ben was left with what some would call limitations but I prefer to call them challenges.

The Perreth family has faced a myriad of woes in their life and yet through it all they have grown stronger. "Making Lemonade With Ben" is a story filled with hope. Ben survived when the doctors offered little hope. Dan and Katherine stood on their faith and persevered when many others would have failed. I believe it was the faith and strength of his parents that brought Ben the courage and conviction to fight his way back to health. Ben is a remarkable young man with strength, courage and fortitude.

This is a book that needed to be written as it shines a necessary light on mental illness and helps dispel its stigma. Author Katherine Perreth is a talented author, amazing mother, and a courageous person. I would be remiss not to mention the Yahara House and the wonderful service they offer.

Pat K.

bought Making Lemonade with Ben: The Audacity to Cope because of my respect for its author, Katherine Perreth. I read it because I simply could not put it down. I feared that it might be heavy with worry, grief and anger. What I found was humor, acceptance, inspiration, honesty and a beacon for my own journey. Perreth supplied words for those times when I had none. In Perreth's story of life as she and her family knew it after Ben was found in a coma at age 7 she tells of the good times, her family and friends, and their enjoyment of life as well as of her struggle to stay balanced and whole in the face of terrible events. Sometimes she loses that struggle and in her honesty I find courage and inspiration. The end of the story is upbeat. Ben is living his own life, in own apartment and in a job he has made all his own. He is a testament to courage and endurance, his own, his mother's and his family's.

Suzy

Based upon what happened to Ben, I was afraid this book would be depressing. It was just the opposite! The way Katherine juxtoposed the sad, tragic parts with the triumphant and joyful parts made it a pleasure to read. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read about true life heroes--they are abundant in this story. Katherine's writing about her own depression and how it affected those around her was remarkably brave, and could touch the lives of countless others suffering from depression.

Richard

This wonderful, life affirming book about a mother and a son who refused to die should be read by anyone who doubts that the human spirit can overcome great obstacles. Told by a a master storyteller mom.

Amy

The story told in this book is amazing, and behind that story is the way the author allows readers to connect with the strengths we have inside each of us to work with difficulty. Her honest exploration of her strengths and weaknesses in response to what could have been full-out, ongoing tragedy give the reader hope that we each have that resilience inside of us! Maybe not as much resilience as Ben, who seems to have been given more than a double helping of endurance and optimism at birth, but then his gifts in those areas shine throughout the book as a model for how we too can navigate life's challenges. A very moving book, but a fun read, too.

Anne

Katherine writes of her experiences with great honesty and authenticity. It was hard to put the book down...and just as hard to pick it up again. It is a roller coaster ride through the full spectrum of emotion. I'd call it a "must read" for anyone who has experienced life challenges, any parent, health care provider, teacher or friend.
A great choice for a book club selection - it encourages vulnerability; allows for diversity in perspective and lively discussion. You really cannot read this book and walk away unchanged - for the better!

Teri

Making Lemonade with Ben: The Audacity to Cope is a book that anyone facing struggles with their child's journey should read. Ms. Perreth has poignantly captured the pain that accompanies the loss of the dreams we have for our children. She teaches us how to change our dreams as life happens. She shares her story of navigating through her journey with sprinklings of bittersweet throughout. I was especially affected by her raw emotions. She is the real deal. Her humor throughout the book helps the reader understand the perspective needed when going through very difficult times.

Jan

Katherine's book tells it like it is. The story doesn't sugar coat anything and I can tell it is honest to the bone. Making Lemonade ROCKS!

Donna

The Perreth family moves into the world of medical emergencies in the middle of the night. It is a new level of panic and success as the family must continuously advocate for the kind of care the child needs, Ben, and his health issues. His mother, Katherine, and Ben become a team who have to bolster each other up after each new twist and turn in his medical conditions. It is a true story and a model for caregivers who have to have new directions in their lives as they seek assistance and improvement in the life of another family member. Hurray for the Perreths, Mom, Dad, and siblings to Ben. Ben becomes an amazing person who after all the medical emergencies and impositions on his life is a kind, talented, and empathic young man who finds his place in the world of work but for him its play. The book is a good read, hard to put down, in fact, as you wonder what the next success or disaster can be.

Lisa

I'm forever grateful to Katherine for writing her story and sharing it with us. She is the master of description. What a gift! I thought Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love was funny. Katherine is way beyond. She made me laugh, care, feel, and laugh some more. I want to share this book with everyone.

George

I found it amazing how Katherine used humor to help cope with the challenges presented by her son's traumatic brain injury. It is a book about hope, love, faith, family and perseverance. Best of all, we get to know Ben and his amazing personality. Inspiration and triumph best describe this experience.

Chris

If you like stories of someone overcoming bleak odds, refusing to give up, and living a happy, laugh-filled life, this book is for you! It would make a terrific movie, ala The Blind Side or Patch Adams.

Donna

The Perreth family moves into the world of medical emergencies in the middle of the night. It is a new level of panic and success as the family must continuously advocate for the kind of care the child needs, Ben, and his health issues. His mother, Katherine, and Ben become a team who have to bolster each other up after each new twist and turn in his medical conditions. It is a true story and a model for caregivers who have to have new directions in their lives as they seek assistance and improvement in the life of another family member. Hurray for the Perreths, Mom, Dad, and siblings to Ben. Ben becomes an amazing person who after all the medical emergencies and impositions on his life is a kind, talented, and empathic young man who finds his place in the world of work but for him its play. The book is a good read, hard to put down, in fact, as you wonder what the next success or disaster can be.

Karen

Katherine Perreth really hit the ball out of the park with this book. It will remain in my library forever and I know I will go back and re-read it from time to time. I do hope that somehow it can reach the market of Moms with Special Needs Kids. If that were my reality I would really be helped by this book. Katherine is so honest about her own struggles and didn't "sugar coat" any of her experiences - yet as other reviewers have said - her humor is her saving grace. I laughed out loud at times. Very inspirational book!

Jill

This true-life story is a gripping affirmation of the human spirit told in a voice that's fresh, candid, and funny. I hung on every word! Absolutely stellar -- I highly recommend it!

Jane P.

In publishing "Making Lemonade with Ben", Katherine Perreth has revealed her secret as a masterful storyteller, who found her voice in her first book. My only complaint was the story of love and pain was difficult to read ... through wet eyes, tears of both sadness and joy. Building upon her experience as a journalist, Ms. Perreth constructs clear, vivid pictures, and a narrative which tells a story filled with frustration and joy. Ever since Ben was stricken with a brain hemorrhage at age seven, Katherine and Ben - along with their extended family, friends, and supporters - have experienced the full range of human emotions. As a reader, you are drawn into this tale of courage and love. I especially appreciated the way Ms. Perreth named, labelled, and even used abbreviations to create a personal, and often humorous, language within the text. Buy this book, but when you do, pick up some Kleenex, too. You will need it