the Book




In the heartwarming pages of The Boy Who Saved My Life, Earle Martin tells how Charlie, his grandson with autism, rescued his soul. He explains where he was in his personal life when Charlie appeared, and how Charlie breathed life into him.


As he relates anecdotes from their life together, you will begin to develop a sense of the profound power of the simple moments they have shared. But perhaps you will have more questions. How did all of this happen? And just who is Charlie?


You will read about the family’s search for Charlie, who had become lost and whom they so desperately needed to find. You will find stories that will help you know Charlie better. But, remember: it is for you that this book has been written. Here are ways in which you might have your own life significantly changed—perhaps even saved—by your own Charlie. And if you have not yet met your special friend, here are ways you might discover each other.


What you will read in the book is not a definitive work about autism. It is one grandfather’s reflections on his grandson’s autism, born out of years of friendship. You will leave this small volume with an idea of what Charlie’s family has done to try to help him deal with his autism, but more importantly, with a sense of what Charlie, himself, has accomplished. And, most of all, you will be reminded of the joy that comes from meeting others where they are, helping them in their mission to be their best selves and allowing them to show us our own best selves. In the brightness of that understanding lies hope, for those with autism and special needs, and for those of us who share our lives with these truly special people.


The Boy Who Saved My Life won the book prize for the 2012 Barbara Jordan Media Awards, which “accurately and positively reports on individuals with disabilities, using People First language and respectful depictions.” Jo Virgil, Community Outreach and Information Coordinator for the Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities, wrote “It is an excellent, inspiring piece of work, and will surely have a strong impact on the way the public sees people with disabilities.”



Proceeds from the sale of this volume will go to support the Brookwood Community, a God-centered educational, residential, and entrepreneurial community for adults with functional disabilities.


Brookwood is a truly amazing community, inspiring men and women to face the hard challenges which come with disabilities, and to do so with grace, courage and success. It is a community where every room has an empty chair, God’s chair. The citizens who live there know they are never alone.


Charlie works at Brookwood in a variety of jobs, as a waiter in their award- winning café and as an assistant expediter in their kitchen, where he wears a chef’s coat. He undertakes his jobs responsibly and enthusiastically. Every time he fills an order, he does his favorite thing, saying, “Order up!”

“Charlie is such a joy to be around. He has a courageous spirit and gentle soul. We are all so blessed to be part of Charlie’s world. Charlie has taught me more about teaching than any university course could provide.”
– Margaret Kroger, his teacher who now lives in Australia