A Journey into the Mind and Heart of My Extraordinary Son
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH)
On Sale: May 8, 2012
Paperback / e-Book
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A remarkable memoir from the best-selling author of Friday
Night Lights and Three Nights in August.
Buzz Bissingerâ€™s twins were born three minutesâ€”and a
worldâ€”apart. Gerry, the older one, is a graduate student at
Penn, preparing to become a teacher. His brother Zach has
spent his life attending special schools. Heâ€™ll never drive
a car, or kiss a girl, or live by himself. He is a savant,
challenged by serious intellectual deficits but also blessed
with rare talents: an astonishing memory, a dazzling knack
for navigation, and a reflexive honesty that can make him
both socially awkward and surprisingly wise.
Buzz realized that while he had always been an attentive
father, he didnâ€™t really understand what it was like to be
Zach. So one summer night Buzz and Zach hit the road to
revisit all the places they have lived together during
Zachâ€™s twenty-four years. Zach revels in his memories, and
Buzz hopes this journey into their shared past will bring
them closer and reveal to him the mysterious workings of his
sonâ€™s mind and heart. The trip also becomes Buzz's personal
journey, yielding revelations about his own parents, the
price of ambition, and its effect on his twins.
As father and son journey from Philadelphia to Los Angeles,
they see the best and worst of America and each other.
Ultimately, Buzz gains a new and uplifting wisdom, realizing
that Zachâ€™s worldview has a sturdy logic of its own: a logic
that deserves the greatest respect. And with the help of
Zachâ€™s twin, Gerry, Buzz learns an even more vital lesson
about Zach: character transcends intellect. We come to see
Zach as he truly is: patient, fearless, perceptive, kindâ€”a
man of excellent character.
1 comment posted.
Re: Father's Day
I'm just reading a fiction series in which one of the four brothers portrayed is also a savant. I'd love to be able to compare what these two different writers have to say about this subject--especially this book based on a real person. I believe that each life has its value, though we may not understand why or how. I'm glad the father here found that to be true. I know the father in the novel did not: in fact, he treated his son abominably and damaged him more.
(Sigrun Schulz 12:29pm June 16, 2012)
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