Author: Fulvio Ervas
Edition: Marcos y Marcos
My first books of 2013 is by an italian author, Fulvio Ervas. I don't even know if you can find it translated in any other language than italian. My boyfriend's aunt recommended it to me, giving me her own copy, because it was about a moving story of a father and his authistic son. I am very interested in authism and I had already heard of this book and was after reading it.
Plot: Franco's a man, living in northern Italy with his wife and two sons. His eldest, Andrea, was diagnosed with authism at age 3. The book is a real life story of a journey Franco and Andrea take to the States, Central and South America. The two men (Andrea's 17, even if he doesn't act as a 17 y.o. guy, due to his disease) take a flight to Miami and start a journey via motorbike, coast-to-coast, to Los Angeles. Through the pages Ervas tells the reader about the days they spend in the States. We learn about Franco's despair for Andrea's authism and we get to know about Andrea's insight because in the book the author reports parts of phrases written by Andrea himself.
Anyway, the men meet weird people in the journey and seem to make friends with everyone they meet on their way. They are a bit too naive if you ask me, but their being friendly is repaid with lots of stories and new adventures.
In spite of travelling with an authistic son (and every doctor having tried to dissuade him to leave to the States), Franco decides to try his good luck further and go south, all the way to Central America. And there he meets more people, most of whom are weird to say the least.
And the journey goes on, all way to South America, where the people and society are so different if compared to the States that make something change in both Andrea and Franco.
Finally, after a few days spent in Brasil with locals, the two globetrotters take a flight back home to Italy where a mother and a son have been waiting for them.
My opinion on the book: All in all, I didn't much like this book. I had great expectations on this one, because everyone on goodreads seemed to be enthusiastic about it. I must say that I found it a bit overblown. While Andrea's writing is very elemental with subject-and-infinite-verb-from-like, he uses very difficult words like self-awareness and entrapped. Weird indeed. Maybe it is due to some authistic trait I don't know about.
The whole story is an ok one, the journey itself is an extraordinary experience for any son, let alone an authistic boy. I got to learn a lot about many places in the States and southern America I didn't know before. What I didn't appreciate about the book is the fact that from the pages I got the impression that Andrea is conscious of his state of authistic boy and live his condition as if he was a normal person entrapped in a cage called authism. Is it possible for an authistic to see authism from the outside, with an objective point of view? No need to say that this book has awaken in me many questions.
Last thing I didn't like about the book is the attitude of Franco toward Andrea's sexual experiences. He'd want his son to have his first time with a local girl, in spite of his authism. As if having sex would ever heal him. I don't know, maybe by the time I reached this point in the book I was already biased and didn't read through the lines. Maybe it's me who's too little sensitive. Most people who read this book say they had tears because of the courage of this father. I didn't. Can't say if it's because of the story itself or because I wasn't in the right spirit to read such a story.
Anyway I hope my 2013 reading activity will be more rewarding than it's been so far with this first book!