A Brother's MemoirBook - 2009
A brother of an autistic child profiled in the trilogy that began with A Boy Called Noah describes the challenges he faced growing up in his brother's shadow, in an account that interweaves the social history of autism and its related research with the author's sideline experiences in childhood and adulthood.
“Extraordinary… Greenfeld details what it is like to grow up next to a ‘beautiful’ boy with whom he can never play and never connect and who never returns his love, but who, nonetheless, is the most important fact of his life.”
— Michael Thompson, Ph.D., co-author of Raising Cain
“Beautiful and powerful …. A masterpiece of literature and memory.”
— Walter Isaacson, author of Einstein: His Life and Universe
— Washington Post
A WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
In this literary tour de force, Karl Taro Greenfield, the acclaimed journalist and author ofChina Syndrome, tells the story of his life growing up with his brother, chronicling the hopes, dreams, and realities of life with an autistic sibling. Fans of Joan Didion’sThe Year of Magical Thinking and David Sheff’s Beautiful Boy will find many poignant, moving moments inBoy Alone.
Blackwell North Amer
Karl Taro Greenfeld knew from an early age that his little brother, Noah, was not like other children. He couldn't crawl, and he had trouble making eye contact or interacting with his family. As Noah grew older, his differences became even more pronounced - he was unable to communicate verbally, use the toilet, or tie his shoes, and despite his angelic demeanor, he often had violent outbursts.
No doctor, social worker, or specialist could pinpoint what was wrong with Noah beyond a general diagnosis: autism. The boys' parents, Josh and Foumi, dedicated their lives to caring for their younger son with myriad approaches - a challenging, often painful experience that the devoted father detailed in a bestselling trilogy of books.
Now, for the first time, acclaimed journalist Karl Taro Greenfeld speaks out about growing up in the shadow of his autistic brother, revealing the complex mix of rage, confusion, and love that defined his childhood. Boy Alone is his brutally honest memoir of the hopes, dreams, and realities of life with a mentally disabled sibling.
Seamlessly weaving together the social history of autism and autism research - as the Greenfelds lived through it in seeking treatment for Noah - with the deeply affecting story of two very different boys growing up side by side, this book raises crucial philosophical questions: Can relationships exist without language? How should aging parents care for a nonverbal, violent child, and then a grown man who is not self-sufficient? Is there anything that can be done to help an extremely autistic child or adult become a member of mainstream society?
Haunting, tragic, and unforgettable, this chronicle of autism is a beautiful, wholly original exploration of what it means to be a family, a brother, and a person.
Recounts the author's relationship with his autistic brother Noah and the struggles their family endured when treating the illness.