This is a book report on Ben Carson's book Gifted Hands. The story is based on a true personal story of Ben Carson who is also the author. Ben begins his story by briefing on the John Hopkins twins who were joined from birth. He was requested to separate them but postponed the surgery with four months. The other part of the book narrates Ben Carson's story from his poor childhood up to his successful adulthood as a surgeon when he separates the twins. Ben was born in a family of four; his mother Sonya, his father Carson and his older brother Curtis.
Ben's family lived in Detroit ghetto and they were feeding from hand to mouth because of their financial status. His father was loving and caring although he was not at home most of the times. When Ben was at eight years, their father left home for good and at the age of eight, Ben could not understand how his father loved them. This is because according to Sonya, his mother, his father was not coming back and thus could not take care of them. Sonya Carson told Ben that his father could not come back to them because he had done something very bad. Sonya raised his two sons alone, they had a difficult time due to lack of money but they had a happy family.
Sonya Carson was the greatest and initial source of inspiration for Ben. She stood up for them when the system was dictating otherwise because of their black race. For instance in college where blacks were seen as incapable of performing, Sonya stood up for Curtis and said that he would not attend any vocational courses but rather, he would go to college directly. Sonya was also inspiration to Ben because of her hard work. At first, Ben was not performing well in school and this was very disturbing because he was even nicknamed by his colleagues at school. Despite this, he kept moving on because his mother was encouraging him by telling him that he was not born a failure.
When Bennie and his family came back to Detroit, Bennie was not performing well in school although he was still improving. Mathematics was the worst subject for him; he scored a D which at that point it was an improvement. He had a bad eye sight and the school provided him free eye glasses. His eyesight was bad that he could be called handicapped. The glasses were very helpful because Ben was able to recite the tables behind his mathematics text book. He was able to improve in mathematics such that his teacher noted the improvement.
Ben's class work started improving at the age of eleven after his teachers and mother motivated him to develop interest in class work. The motivation was helpful for Bennie because he started improving and classmates stopped calling him names. His improvement was significant such that his classmates sought help from him. There came a time when Curtis and Bennie failed to attend school and their grades went down. Their mother had to lay down rules in order to save the situation. Sonya restricted the time they spent on television. They had to produce a book report for every text they read. This helped them develop an interest in reading and thus became good readers. During this time, Ben realized he was particularly interested in science.
Ben's family attended a Seventhday Adventist where Ben and his brother got baptized. They received Christ as their savior and were under his guidance henceforth. The church was helpful in Ben's career because most of their bible studies and worship focused on missionaries who helped in medical matters. This was very intriguing to Ben and his interest in science. Sonya assured Ben that he could become a doctor if he really wanted to and if he'd ask God for his assistance. Sonya and her sons moved from Detroit to Boston and then to Detroit again when she became financially stable (1959-1961). Sonya did any house work she could get; sometimes she worked three jobs at a go.
Sonya helped her children to improve in all aspects of their lives but particularly in class work. Curtis was better in school than Bennie although he was much rebellious. After a lot of hard work both for Ben and his mother, they started topping their classes such that Bennie was offered a scholarship at the Yale University after his high school. In Yale University, Ben Carson met a lady named Candy. As the story develops, Ben Carson requests Candy for marriage. Ben and Candy got married later. At Yale University, Ben did not maintain his good performance and at his freshmen year, he began to perform poorly. His advantage of toping class was short-lived although his faith in God was not damaged. He attended church even at the University. In the year 1973, Ben Carson graduated from Yale University. As we observed earlier in the novel, Ben had developed an interest in medicine.
Following this interest, Ben joined a medical school because he wanted to achieve his dream of becoming a doctor. After completing his medical school, Ben Carson was hoping to get a place at a school which was very difficult to secure a position. Luckily, Ben was accepted at John Hopkins. This is a renowned hospital where complicated surgeries have been carried out successfully. Ben had put his medical career at stake by performing a surgery on man to save his life. At John Hopkins, Ben performed his first legal and most difficult surgery. He was asked to perform surgery on Miranda who had seizures for a long time.
Miranda had many seizures since she was a tiny girl as it was explained to Ben. It was a challenging task for him but he was ready to face his career because he was also inspired by the missionaries he had known about in his childhood. Besides being a professional in medicine, Ben was also interested in saving lives and reducing the suffering by getting rid of pain. The surgery that was performed on Miranda was called hemispherectomy. During this period when Ben was working as a surgeon, his wife Candy had a bloody miscarriage of the twins she was expecting. Their mother Sonya came in to stay with Ben's family during this time.
When at John Hopkins, Ben Carson performed another major surgery. There were twins who were joined from birth and Ben had postponed their surgery for four months. Separating them was a challenge because they were sharing vital organs like blood vessels. Most surgeons had feared operating on them and were advising their mother to give up one of them in order to save at least the other. The two children were dissimilar, when one was feeding; the other one was doing something different like sleeping. The mother of the twins could not figure losing either of the two, she was insisting on saving both of them. This made it very hard for most surgeons. It was Ben's time to prove his competence; he tried the surgery with the help of others.
There were a lot of problems because the two children were sharing blood capillaries transporting blood to the brain. Any little mistake could lead to death. Another challenge they were facing was lack of compatibility of the children's blood group. During the surgery the blood could not clot and hence bleeding could not be stopped. Luckily, compatible blood was found and they managed to stop the bleeding. The overall surgery was successful and the two kids were saved. The surgery was a major success for Ben Carson because he became very famous in his field of interest.
The success of this surgery marks the end of the novel Gifted Hands where we find that Ben's hands are in deed gifted. Ben passed from a poor family life through poor performance in class to a successful surgeon.
Gifted Hands by Ben Carson is an inspiration book. Ben Carson has narrated his entire life from his early childhood to his current position in this book. We find that his childhood was very tough as a ghetto boy and for being a son of a woman. His father had abandoned them for good when he was at eight. Ben inspires many young children who are passing through similar circumstances. His childhood situation did not deter him from becoming a surgeon. He pursued his dream with the support of his mother who was a great motivation to him. Single mothers should take heart and work day and night to see their children prosper. Sonya Carson is a role model for many individuals because she did not give up on her kids even when they were performing very poor in class. She believed in them and offered them motivation and material support. She even worked three odd jobs at a go just to meet their needs. Today's single parents should emulate Sonya and work to their level best to see to it that their children realize their dreams.
By narrating this story, I believe Ben was aiming at single parents and their children. This is because raising a child to the level of success as a single parent who is not financial stable is very difficult. The children from single mother families undergo through a lot of demoralizing and traumatizing experiences. To make the matters worse, Ben was a black and in those days being black was like an offense. Poor black children are even labeled at school and nicknamed in a way that they dislike social places like school.
Ben inspires children from poor backgrounds to become what they want no matter their present situations. He symbolizes courage because even at the verge of losing his eyesight, he managed to improve on his grades. We find that the aim of the author is achieved because the reader gets the actual meaning or the intended purpose. Children from similar families should work hard to achieve their goals in life and to make their dreams come true. After all the ups and downs of his life, Ben Carson emerged as a renowned surgeon who performs a very difficult surgery and saving the live of the twins. He dreams of becoming a doctor at a very tender age and he emerges as one at the end of his inspirational story. In conclusion, the title of the book is in deed meaningful, we have witnessed the gifted hands of Ben Carson that saves lives. The success of Ben Carson only means that our destiny is not determined by the hardships of the past. "The end does not necessarily justify the means".