When Montreal writer Joel Yanofsky found out, somewhat unexpectedly, that he was going to be a first-time father at age 42, he envisioned the idealized father-son relationship: going to baseball games together, watching classic movies, swapping stories. Even before the birth, Yanofsky was telling jokes to his partner's expanding belly, communing with his unborn son.
By the time he was a preschooler, Yanofsky's only child would fixate on lining up his toys in exact order, or on a certain song, or on a knock-knock joke, repeating it incessantly. He could erupt into three-hour crying jags. It became increasingly evident that he was not like most other children.
``When you are told your child has autism, it's the future that is taken away,'' he writes in his new memoir, of his thinking at the time. In its place was the worry of whether his son would ever go to high school, drive a car, buy his own clothes, live his own life, be happy. Added to that was a nagging interior mantra he recognized as ignoble but couldn't help thinking anyway: ``Why me?''
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Book review: Bad Animals: A Father's Accidental Education in Autism, byJoel Yanofsky