Nick Hornby writes popular books which become equally popular movies, (High Fidelity and About a Boy ) He also wrote the screenplay for the award winning film, An Education. His writing resonates, I suspect because like Hornby, music is the soundtrack of many of our lives. Having a family member with a disability, is also a accompaniment he shares with many of us.
There are many roads to redemption – music and our children are certainly two of them. Hornby blends them. His book title, Speaking with the Angel is pinched from Canadian songwriter Ron Sexsmith. The book itself is a collection of stories by some of the best writers around (Zadie Smith, Helen Fielding, Colin Firth) and was put together to raise money for Treehouse Trust, a school for students with autism.
Since his son Danny has autism, Hornby was asked to review Charlotte Moore's book about her two sons: George and Sam
This provided him with the opportunity to riff on the riddles of life. Here is an excerpt from that review.
… some of you might want to read 'George and Sam' in the same way that we all read 'Wild Swans', even though many of us had no burning interest in the history of China, or Claire Tomalin's book about Pepys, despite a long-held suspicion that Pepys' diaries might be on the dull side….
… George and Sam' is luminous. True, it doesn't provide us with the kind of redemption that allows us to weep sentimental tears and then forget all about it (which, after all, is the unwitting function of many against-all-odds books). But it does ask – and, more impressively, answer – important questions, questions that apply to all of us:
to what extent are we really prepared to accommodate our children? Are we properly equipped to love them the way they are? If our lives do not turn out the way we had hoped, what is the best way of living them? Do six, After Eights, constitute a decent breakfast? Charlotte Moore knows, but I'm not telling. You'll have to read this wonderful book to find out.
Hornby's Full Review of George and Sam
This reflection is part of the series: How People With Disabilities Will Save the World. I welcome your suggestions or guest contributions. You can access the whole series by clicking the category: Save the World.