Where We Going, Daddy? by Jean-Louis Fournier is a book to keep, to share, to think about, to talk about, and I fear, to defend. The book is a provocative essay about two severely disabled children, written by their father. Undoubtedly a subset of people will rise in indignance against the author — statements will be made, apologies will be demanded, the French will be damned.

Just like the boys in the story, this book is not like other books. It shouldn’t be described as good or bad, right or wrong, a success or failure. I approached this book without judgment, and I read it through without judgment — something not easy to do given our religious and cultural preconceptions about disabled people and their families. I accepted the book and in so doing, it changed me.

Where We Going, Daddy? is the very personal story about a man and his boys. Partway through the book, I started thinking about my own boy: a boy who is, in general, just like other boys. And more generally, I though about many parents’ expectations for their children — why are they always so high? Why do we always want more, faster, better, no matter how capable (or not) our children already are? Thank you, Mr. Fournier, for sharpening the lens on your family and mine.

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