Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Boy in the Moon

According to the cardiofaciocutaneous syndrome website, CCF (as it is more commonly called) can be diagnosed by some of the following symptoms:

·         • a distinctive facial appearance;
·         • unusually sparse, brittle, curly hair;
·          • skin abnormalities;
·          • heart malformations present at birth (congenital heart defects)
·          • growth delays

As a reader of The Boy in the Moon, I offer you some more information about CCF:

There is no cure for CCF.

It is a genetic condition that a child is born with.

It will be seen as a disability for the child’s entire life, and will cause society to view the child 
(and the eventual adult) differently.

It is extremely rare, and the severity of it can differ from child-to-child.

It impacts lives.

It is CCF that has made Walker Brown who he is, and it is Walker Brown who is the raison d’etre for The Boy in the Moon.

The Boy in the Moon is a memoir, by Ian Brown (Walker’s father). Brown is a reporter for Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail. Brown had frequently written articles about his son prior to writing this book, and had thus familiarized Canadians with his family’s challenges.

The book examines the relationship that Walker has with his father, his family, and the world at large. This book is Brown’s search for the meaning of Walkers life in our society that has distinct and opinionated views on disabled individuals.

CCF has shaped the Brown family in many ways. The parents, Ian and Joanna Schneller, have been forced to abandon dreams for a “normal life” for both their son and daughter. The parents are permanently attached to their son - in a way that parents of “normal” children will never be – and sometimes suffer guilt for abandoning their son (when placed in a group home) or perhaps even causing his condition. It is CCF that has forced the Brown family to seek solace and support of other advocates for the disabled, and has allowed them to create valuable bonds with other CCF parents. And yet, it is CCF that allows Walker to see the world as it truly is: simple in its joys and mysteries.

It is Walker’s view on the world which Brown desperately grasps at with this book. He wants to insight into his son and his sons actions. Their communication is limited to smiles, grunts, and hits; however, they are still able to understand one another at an almost primordial level. It is Walker that brings about Brown’s search for enlightenment, and who is Brown’s passion for life.

I received this book as part of the Early Reviewers Program, and I voraciously read it. Brown’s writing is hauntingly eloquent, and this book will be, I suspect, read and re-read. The journey of the Walker and his family is one that will not easily be forgotten.

Book information:

The Boy in the Moon: A Father's Journey to Understand His Extraordinary 
St. Martin's Press (2011), Hardcover, 304 pages

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