Best Memoirs of the Year
The Ode to a Child That Will Bring You to Your Knees
Told in 424 short passages—a number that corresponds to the number of painful, slow steps that it takes Diogo Mainardi's disabled son Tito to walk from their apartment in Venice to the hospital that bungled his young birth—this slim memoir astonishes with its raw honesty. As he examines his child's cerebral palsy, the author lays bare his guilt over his past flippant remarks about birth deformities, his fury over the negligence of the doctors and his unexpected and dizzying adoration for Tito, which leads him to move his family from Italy to Brazil so that Tito can walk without fear of falling on the soft sand of Rio's beaches. Along the way, expect discourses on Italian art history, the poems of Ezra Pound and the songs of Neil Young (whose two kids also have cerebral palsy). A heartbreaking, brain-expanding hymn of love by a father for his son.