Without Restraint - Book Review


Without Restraint

Author: Robert DeLena
Genre: Non Fiction - Memoir
Publisher: Falcon Guides
Date Published: March 1, 2023
ISBN-10: 1493066927
ISBN-13: 9781493066926


GoodReads Rating:

Book Review of :  Without Restraint


Written by father and son authors Robert C. DeLena and Ryan C. DeLena, Without Restraint. How Skiing Saved My Son's Life is a unique memoir of one family overcoming overwhelming struggles with love, dedication, and perseverance. The two authors alternate their perspectives and memories of heartache and hopelessness due to the son's diagnosis of being on the autism spectrum and the detrimental behavioral methods imposed on him by doctors and educators.

Ryan's story parallels the treatment prescribed for himself and many other children with extreme acting-out behavior who exhibit an emotional lack of control. Ryan suffered through a series of trial medications and was placed in a series of therapeutic schools where the method of control was to restrain him often with his face to the floor physically. He experienced bruising as the result of his fighting back. At one point, he was admitted into a psychiatric hospital. Parents who struggle with doctors' and educators' methods for treating their exceptional or strong-willed child will be encouraged by Ryan's parents' decisions.

Ryan's father, Rob, may have been disappointed that his son was not a typical toddler that matured normally, but his love for his son motivated him to try endless ways to reach the boy. On a whim, Rob took seven-year-old Ryan snow skiing. The boy was a natural, and soon his ability on the slopes outshone his father. This book will engross the avid skier with its detailed accounts of Ryan and his dad as they explore the many ski resorts in North America. As his unusual ability to ski developed, Ryan's ability to understand social situations and control his emotions also developed. Although still in the therapeutic school situation, Rob insisted that Ryan no longer be restrained. A new doctor took him off all medications.

Ryan's self-esteem soared as he challenged the toughest ski slopes in Chili, Argentina, and Antarctica. He set a life goal to get a degree in adventure education and become an extreme ski instructor. Soon Ryan faced new challenges as he insisted on completing school in a local public high school. In telling his story, Ryan tells parents that it's okay if their child is different from other kids. He says if you try to break or change your child, "you will break them entirely." Another lesson from Ryan is not to let things get you down and keep moving no matter how bad it seems. "If you give up, you might just miss the best day of your life."

This book is a must-read for parents of "special" children and ski enthusiasts.

Reviewed by: Carole

About Robert DeLena



Robert C. DeLena was raised in Revere, MA, and is a graduate of The Governor's Academy, Trinity College, and Northeastern University School of Law. Rob lives in Sudbury, MA with his wife, Mary Beth, and their daughter, Abigail. He spends time skiing with his son Ryan and the great friends he's made during his journey from beginner to reluctant adventurer. Rob has skied all over the United States, internationally in Canada, Chile, and Argentina, and even survived backcountry expedition in Antarctica in 2018 and 2022. Ryan C. DeLena is currently a student at Northern Vermont University studying Outdoor Education. He is widely known in the outdoor community through his social media presence as "Extreme Ryan." He was pictured on the cover of Backcountry Ski Maps (2020) and has conquered many of the world's signature ski runs including Super-C Couloir in Chile, Little Couloir in Montana, and Tuckerman Ravine in New Hampshire. Ryan has climbed and skied additional peaks in Oregon, Washington, Utah, California, Nevada, Wyoming, Svalbard, Baffin Island, and Antarctica. He is an enthusiastic rock climber, ice climber, and avid hiker, summiting the Grand Teton twice, and has recently completed the "Hundred Highest" hiking peaks in New England.

Visit HTTPS://www.without-restraint-book.com for more information on Robert DeLena


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