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Ian Brown’s “The Boy In The Moon” Is a Winner

ian-brown-boy-in-moonThe Boy in The Moon by Ian Brown is picking up speed and making heads turn. The book is the touching, honest and thought-provoking account of the Toronto-based author’s life with his profoundly disabled son, Walker. Walker has an incredibly rare genetic mutation which he shares with somewhere in the neighbourhood of 300 people.

Brown, a writer for the Globe and Mail, writes about the pain, bewilderment and stress of trying to raise and protect his son, who, if left to his own devices, would bang his head ceaselessly and hard enough to injure himself. He writes in raw, vivid detail, with an unflinching honesty and unapologetic reality. But perhaps the most painful and heartbreaking sentences are those in which Brown laments his inability to get to know his son, to reach him. He wonders, simply, who Walker is, and what goes on inside him.

The exhaustion and sorrow of these daily struggles come across loud and clear throughout The Boy in The Moon, as everything in Brown’s life – his marriage, his finances, his very sanity and faith – are tested relentlessly.

But among the pain is compassion, and it is hard not to admire and even feel hope in words so authentic, so self-aware, written with love. For anyone who has ever had a child, or anyone who appreciates writing so skilled and honest that it makes your chest ache, this book is not to be missed.

The Boy in The Moon has won the Charles Taylor Prize for non-fiction, the BC Nonfiction Book Prize, and most recently Ontario’s Trillium Book Award.

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