Seven year after the publishing of his award-winning memoir, us spoke with writer Ian Brown around the great he continues to discover from his disabled son.

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Photo: Vintage Canada


When Ian Brown wrote his memoir, The young in the Moon: A Father’s search for His Disabled Son, his son Walker might not speak or eat hard food. At the age of 12, he sweet only 54 pounds, was in require of diapers and also had come wear cuffs on his arms to prevent him native harming himself. Brown’s son was born with cardiofaciocutaneous (CFC), a rare disease that fewer than 300 civilization in the world live with. Brown’s book, which was released 7 years ago, was described by Quill and Quire as “honest, self-critical, poetic and also moving.” The story made both the Globe and also Mail and the New York Times Best books lists, and went top top to win the Charles Taylor prize because that literary non-fiction and the Trillium publication Award.

Today, pedestrian is 20 years old. Resident in an aided living home, with scheduled visits to his parents’ place, he is still able to both confound and inspire his family. As his dad says, “his awareness the the human being is a little more noticeable,” and also he’s revealing a “slightly more distinctive personality.”

It is in the small moments, like the one that occurred during a household visit, that offer glimpses of this arising character. Brown relays the story of when Walker, when at his parents’ home, tripped end a bag his mother, Johanna, had actually left out and also scraped his knee. For hrs after the fall, at any time Walker witnessed his mother, he would grunt in ~ her. That wasn’t until four or 5 hours later, as soon as Walker approached Johanna and nudged her arm, the the Browns realized pedestrian had chose to forgive her.

“You piece together from what’s available,” says Ian. “You deal with how that is fairly than how he is supposed to be.”

“He quiet looks 12, or 13. That still features at the level the a one-and-a-half-year-old. We are still caught in the place that so numerous parents that intellectually disabled children are.” just how does one really connect when so much of a relationship is spend by caregiving?


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Photo: Crow’s Theatre


Brown to trust that when you encounter those with significant disabilities, “you space as disabled together they are,” in that you both room at a loss for just how to interact. “This makes you sort of equal, it provides you the same,” he says. “And that allows you to connect.”

Now, in his last year that school, walker is tho revealing his potential come his father. For example, every day prior to class, the young male collects and also puts far the backpacks of all his wheelchair-bound classmates. Then, at the finish of the day, the gathers them again and returns them to their owners. “I was surprised by this day-to-day activity,” says Brown, who, because that the very first time, saw his kid contribute to the outside world in a tangible way.

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“There are many ways come contribute, and they room not all based upon success or accomplishment,” mirrors Brown. And also while the understands that pedestrian will never marry, drive a auto or rise to the peak of a profession, the has likewise learned that these common milestones are not everything. “The an ext we move away indigenous our emphasis on being the best, and instead work on how we are relating to various other people—that seems more important come me this days.”

This concern of link is one that resonates with plenty of parents, consisting of father and writer Emil Sher, who has adapted The boy in the Moon for the stage. “I think there’s always a require for creating that obstacles us,” says Sher. “Writing that asks inquiries that, in turn, ask us to pose our very own questions.”

Sher’s production, i m sorry incorporates composing from the book and original interviews through Brown, Johanna and also their daughter, Hayley, has its Toronto premiere on may 8.

“The Walkers the the world, in every the ideal ways, force us to see life v a different lens,” claims Sher. “It help to have actually truths we already recognize restated, just to remind us of their prestige in shaping who we are and how we analyze the world. Ns was reminded in tackling this publication that life is facility and layered. It’s not black and white. And also I think it’s in the greys that we uncover what life is every about.”