Bad Animals: A Father’s Accidental Education in Autism

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Winner of QWF Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-fiction

Joel Yanofsky tried for years to start this memoir. "It's not just going to be about autism," he told his wife, Cynthia. "It's going to be about parenthood and marriage, about hope and despair, and storytelling, too."

"Marriage?" Cynthia said. "What about marriage?"

A veteran book reviewer, Yanofsky has spent a lifetime immersed in literature (not to mention old movies and old jokes), which he calls shtick. This account of a year in the life of a family describes a father's struggle to enter his son's world, the world of autism, using the materials he knows best: self-help books, feel-good memoirs, literary classics from the Bible to Dr. Seuss, old movies, and, yes, shtick. Funny, wrenching, and unfailingly candid, Bad Animalsis both an exploration of a baffling condition and a quirky love story told by a gifted writer.

 

What Others Are Saying

Writers... show their capacity for greatness when they point their talent at something they love. Joel Yanofsky has done just that: written a marvellous book about a child he adores -- his son.

- David Gilmour, author of The Film Club

How do you parent an autistic child? In Bad Animals... Joel Yanofsky offers his answer to that question.... A refreshingly sober reflection on being the father of a high-functioning autistic 11-year-old.

- Chatelaine

(Joel) Yanofsky's journey from shock to denial, then acceptance to pride is an affecting one... you know that Bad Animals will have a great sequel.

- The Montreal Review of Books

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