At the end of last year I had amassed some $50 in Barnes and Noble gift cards, and I figured I should do something I don’t often do, to wit: buy some books. Why don’t I normally do this? Two reasons, and neither one is because I don’t like reading. The first is because I have so many books, I feel guilty buying more; and the second is, I have no idea where to start. I actually tend to read the books I own over and over. No joke.
Anyway, in this case I decided I’d look up some Disney books. I got some recommendations from friends of various kinds of Disney-related reading, and made my order on the website. They came one at a time. One of the first to arrive was “3500: An Autistic Boy’s Ten-Year Romance with Snow White”, by Ron Miles.
I had read about this book when it came out, a few months earlier (now a year or so ago – it was published in 2013), and was very intrigued by it. A simple version of the story is that Ron’s son, Benjamin, fell in love with Walt Disney World, fell DEEPLY in love with Snow White’s Scary Adventures, and rode it over and over…3,500 times, in fact. This is a very, very simple and actually almost misleading version of the story, as there is so much more to it. You get an in depth picture of Benjamin, of the challenges of raising a boy with autism but also the huge rewards, and the whole story is glowing with the love that Ron feels for his son, the pride he takes in the accomplishments that Benjamin makes, and the joy he receives from not only Benjamin’s love of Snow White, but also the way the folks at Disney World treat Benjamin.
The story is a very easy read, personal but not the kind of personal telling that shuts readers out (you know… the ones that are SO personal they feel like a journal, written for folks who already know the writer, and those stories leave you feeling like you’ve missed something somewhere). This also is not an easy, level story being told. Benjamin and his parents go through a lot on this ten-year journey; Ron, and Benjamin’s mother as well, make lots of changes to their lives, not the least of which is the decision to move to Orlando just to be close to Disney World so that they can pursue it as a therapeutic option for Benjamin’s development. There are health struggles, personal struggles, and as we know, Snow White’s Scary Adventures meets an untimely end. Benjamin, however, keeps going and the whole book leaves the reader with a sense of the growth that Benjamin has undergone and a strong affection for him.
I really highly recommend this book, as a memoir, as a Disney World love story, and as a story of meeting the challenges life has handed you with love and determination, and how that can pay off. I hope Benjamin’s continuing story stays on the same path. (And I have to wonder if he’s been on the Mine Train yet, and what he thinks!)
You can buy “3500” here on Amazon; this is a link to the Kindle edition, but I bought it in print, and like having it available in a hard copy. I am old-fashioned that way. The Kindle price is $2.99, paperback price is $11.66. You can also buy it from Barnes And Noble here; prices are about the same, but the eBook is Nook format instead of Kindle.