The Boy in the Moon

The Boy in the Moon

A Father's Search for His Disabled Son

Book - 2009
Average Rating:
9
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Walker Brown was born with a genetic mutation so rare that doctors call it an orphan syndrome: perhaps 300 people around the world also live with it. Walker turns twelve in 2008, but he weighs only 54 pounds, is still in diapers, can't speak and needs to wear special cuffs on his arms so that he can't continually hit himself. "Sometimes watching him," Brown writes, "is like looking at the man in the moon -- but you know there is actually no man there. But if Walker is so insubstantial, why does he feel so important? What is he trying to show me?"

In a book that owes its beginnings to Brown's original Globe and Mail series, he sets out to answer that question, a journey that takes him into deeply touching and troubling territory. "All I really want to know is what goes on inside his off-shaped head," he writes, "But every time I ask, he somehow persuades me to look into my own."
Publisher: Toronto, ON : Random House Canada, [2009]
Copyright Date: ©2009
ISBN: 9780307357106
Branch Call Number: 362.196042 BRO
Characteristics: 295 pages ; 21 cm

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SCL_Heather Jan 10, 2017

I read this after reading Ian Brown's newer book 'Sixty'. While I enjoyed Sixty I found Mr. Brown came across occasionally as a bit whiny. But reading this book helped create a context for the later book. This book was moving and lovely and well-written and made me like Ian Brown a lot more.

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nhoj
Dec 13, 2012

Ian Brown clearly and poetically describes his life with his severely "retarded" son. He masterfully takes inside his life and his son's life and the almost insurmountable problems he and his wife must deal with. The boy must be fed through a tube, is always hitting himself, can't sleep through the night, is unable to speak, not toilet trained and functions at the level of a 2 year old (the book ends when the boy is 12). Part of the book deals with just caring for the boy's phsyical needs, part trying to know what his emotional and intelectual needs and partly philosophically grasping how to understand his son's part in life. Brown's philosophical musings were energizing and intriguing making you ask your own questions about intellectually impaired people and how and where they fit into human life - not if. A literate and emotional book, thoroughly engaging.

c
ceedeegee57
Aug 20, 2012

Touching, funny, sad, intensely personal, unbelievably honest and amazingly universal.
Ian Brown is a master storyteller whose personal memoir is as (guiltily) enjoyable as a novel. (Should one enjoy this book? I don't know, but although saddened and made strongly empathetic by the story, I did indeed "enjoy" it.)

s
synchdoc
Feb 18, 2012

This author is an outstanding writer-- his use of description alone makes reading this book worthwhile. The story of his son is very insightful and makes you appreciate what life is really all about.

m
mombrarian
Jul 11, 2011

Brilliant, touching, moving, thought-provoking. Not enough words for how great this book is.

m
MoominLibrarian
Jun 11, 2011

I appreciated the author's brutal honesty and intelligent analysis of what it's like to be a parent of a disabled child. A real eye-opener and heartbreaker. Not for the overly-optimistic.

BPLNextBestAdults Jun 02, 2011

The Boy in the Moon is an intense memoir by Globe and Mail writer, Ian Brown. Brown first introduced readers to his son Walker in a series of articles published in the Globe and Mail and his writings elicited such a response that a book soon followed. In vivid detail, Brown describes what life is like for himself, his wife, his daughter, and his son Walker, who was born with an extremely rare genetic condition rendering him profoundly disabled. The exhaustion, frustration, humour, and love Brown has experienced caring for his son are brought to life here, but this book is far more than a parent’s reminiscences. Brown explores the ethics surrounding how society handles those living with disabilities; he confronts his own guilt as a parent who is unable to provide all the care his son requires, all the while searching for the meaning and value of his son’s life. The Boy in the Moon has won several awards, including the 2010 Trilliam Book Award. It was also a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-fiction. Brown pulls you into his world and it is likely one you’ll never forget.

ksoles May 19, 2011

“Sometimes watching him is like looking at the man in the moon...you know there is actually no man there. But if Walker is so insubstantial, why does he feel so important? What is he trying to show me?” These profound questions shape Globe and Mail writer Ian Brown's memoir about his severely disabled son. At age 13, Walker is as mentally developed as a three-year-old due to cardiofaciocutaneous syndrome (CFC), an extremely rare genetic disorder.

Brown chronicles the trials of raising Walker for the first eight years of his life and describes the agonizing decision (and endless red tape) to ultimately place him in a group home. In the second part of the book, Brown travels the continent and meets other families with CFC children and finally visits L'Arche in France, an "international network of faith-based communities centered on adults with developmental disabilities." Although I found the latter half of the book less engaging (too much about genetic research), Brown consistently writes with honesty, insight and self-criticism. The Boy in the Moon is a painful but hopeful quest to abandon the notion of Walker as "unfixable" and to accept him as whole.

q
Queen_Bee
Jul 02, 2010

The touching, honest and loving memoir of a family's journey with their profoundly disabled son. Ian Brown tells it like it is. As a person who works with special needs children, it was moving and informative to get a family's perspective on how the system works for and against them, and of the love they feel for their child.

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