This is the story of a young man who was born in Ireland in 1932, after a difficult birth and with a severe disability that the doctors of the time were unable to name. They urged his parents to disavow him, as he was, they believed, an imbecile with a severely spastic body. Moreover, his parents then had five other children, all healthy. Christy's mother, however, refused to institutionalize him, keeping him at home and treating him as she would her other children. It would not be until years later that she would learn that Christy's affliction was severe cerebral palsy.
Imprisoned in a world all his own and seeming without means to communicate, Christy, at the age of five, made an attempt that was to change his life forever. Rather than being imbecilic, Christy was actually highly intelligent. He took a piece of chalk with his left foot and, having captured the attention of his family, proceeded to scrawl on the floor a reasonable facsimile of the letter "A", astounding his loving family in the process.
By breaking the communications barrier, Christy demonstrated that he could learn and understand. From then on, his capacity for learning was prodigious. Who would have thought that within his severely contorted and convulsed body lay a razor sharp mind and a thirst for knowledge? Certainly not the medical community, which had been so willing to consign him to institutional living. Armed with his left foot, the only part of his body over which he seemed to have some control, Christy Brown would demonstrate to the world who he really was. He was, after all, not the imbecile that the medical community had originally thought but an intelligent and sentient human being.
This is Christy Brown's triumphant and inspirational story of his battle to learn to read, write, and paint, all with the aid of his left foot. It is an inspirational story of his quest for fulfillment. His yearning to be as others are is palpable, and his struggle for acceptance beyond the borders of his home and his physical limitations are well articulated. Christy Brown gives the reader a birds-eye view of what it is like to be a person with severe cerebral palsy. First published in Great Britain in 1954, when Christy Brown was twenty-two, this book, written with his left foot, is a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit.
This is a wonderful book. it gave me a new perspective on life and the treasures it holds for each of us, even for those who feel, or are, disadvantaged and outcast. The book is wonderfully written with a fantastic sense of humor and self-irony. i can only recommend it to everyone.
This was an interesting book, set in a time when treatment for cerebal palsey was just developing.
I greatly admired Christy's family, especially his mother who fought against everyone's expectations to place her baby into a hospital and forget about him. This was probably *the* most important action in Christy's life. I enjoyed the way Christy didn't sugar coat himself in the story...I think his younger brothers must have been terrorised by him. What 11 year old wants to spend two years writing down dictation from his brother every night, especially the kind of flouncy longwinded writing Christy was creating at that point!!