Judy's Reviews > The Boy in the Moon: A Father's Search for His Disabled Son

The Boy in the Moon by Ian Brown
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Mar 18, 11

bookshelves: memoir, goodread-first-read
Read in March, 2011

Many years ago, Dear Abby published an essay in her column called "Welcome To Holland," about how having a handicapped child is like planning a trip to Rome but ending up in Holland. It's not what you were expecting, and at first you're really disappointed, but then you find out Holland is nice. You like it there, it's better than Rome.

In Ian Brown's case, when his son Walker was born with a rare genetic condition called cardiofaciocutaneous (CFC) syndrome, it was "Welcome To Hell." Walker will always operate on the intellecutal level of a one to three year old, requiring intensive 24 hour care for the rest of his life. He can't talk, or feed himself (he takes food through a gastric tube), or use a toilet. He will hit and bite himself for hours. He requires an array of drugs administered through IV tubes.

Brown's description of a typical night of getting Walker to sleep is exhausting. The fact that Brown and his wife Johanna managed to take care of him at home for 11 years is nothing short of amazing.

What's also amazing is that, difficult as Walker was, the Browns found good people to help them. Olga the nanny, friends and family who invited Ian, Johanna, their daughter Hayley and Walker on vacations, who accepted and loved Walker for what and who he was.

Finding the serenity and acceptance promised in the "Welcome To Holland" essay is as difficult for Brown as raising Walker is. He is honest about his feelings, and he is the first to admit that neither he nor Walker fits the popular image of the saintly parent caring for the precious angel child. It's a monumental struggle for Brown to find meaning and joy in Walker's life, but he does. He manages to learn some very profound lessons from caring for his son and he shares them.

You read the book to find out how the Browns managed to cope with the enormous burden of Walker's condition, and you end up finding out why they do it.
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