The Boy in the Moon

The Boy in the Moon by Ian Brown (published by Random House) is a truely touching book. It isn’t new, it was published in 2009, but I decided to read it when I noticed a recommendation for it on the Canada Reads website. This is the story of  Walker Henry Schneller Brown. He’s Ian’s handicapped son. Ian, as you know, is a wonderful writer and journalist and his ability to create the picture of life with a handicapped child is exceptionally well drawn. You can feel his tiredness and his frustration, but also his compassion and love. You know the expression “it takes a village to raise a child” well, when you have a handicapped child it’s more like an entire city. Plans need to be in place, schedules have to be adhered to, and there needs to be a constant supply of caregivers to keep things flowing as they need to be. In addition to which, there’s always the constant overwhelming tiredness. I don’t know where Walker’s family got the energy to carry on as they did. But they made it work. And finally when Walker was too old, and too big to deal with on their own, they made the heartwrenching decision to put him in a group home with other handicapped children. There, much to their surprise, he adapted really well and even fluorished. This is an amazing book. It highlights the negatives (dealing with the social services, the doctors, the school, and the unbelievable expenses) and the positives (being able to communicate in their own special way with Walker, and realizing how much he loved to be outdoors). Everyone should read this, especially those who know someone with a handicapped child. You’ll come away with a better understanding of the hardship and sacrifices the families make, as well as the immense joy that these children bring to their families.

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