The Boy in the Moon

A Father's Search for His Disabled Son

Publisher: Vintage Canada
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.”

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For the first eight years of Walker's life, every night is the same. The same routine of tiny details, connected in precise order, each mundane, each crucial.

The routine makes the eight years seem long, almost endless, until I try to think about them afterwards, and then eight years evaporate to...
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PRAISE FOR

#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE CHARLES TAYLOR PRIZE FOR LITERARY NON-FICTION
WINNER OF THE CHARLES TAYLOR PRIZE FOR CANADIAN NON-FICTION
A Globe and Mail Best Book
A New York Times Book Review Best Book
A New York Times Notable Book
 
“Brown combines a reporter’s curiosity with a novelist’s instinctive feel for the unknowable in this exquisite book, an account [that is] at once tender, pained and unexpectedly funny.” The New York Times Review  

“Please, please don’t make the mistake of passing up the book if it feels familiar––because it is astonishing, both in its content and its triumph over form. Always a writer with a pretty turn of phrase, Brown has moved far beyond those party tricks and forges his most authentic thematic through-line yet: a raw, flawed (deeply exhausted) man in search of his mute, unknowable son, or at least a way to be proud of him.... Without the boy in the moon, his father most certainly would never have written this magnificent book, and that would have been another crying shame.” The Globe and Mail
 
“Even with the most intimate material, [Brown] maintains his reporter’s discipline and impartiality, a rigour that makes the storytelling still more intimate. His accounts of his attempts to connect with Walker, and to be a good father, are at once tender and resolutely unsentimental.... Given the current glut of smug daddy blogs and cutesy mommy memoirs, it’s bracing to read a story about parenthood in which there is something so extraordinary at stake.” The Walrus