Book reviews: The Boy in the Moon

By Ian Brown. Random House Canada, 2010. ISBN 9780679310099. Paperback, 304 pages. $21.00.

Book cover for The in the Moon

A Globe and Mail journalist’s second child has an extremely rare and severe congenital developmental disorder about which little is known and even less can be predicted. The enormous physical and emotional burden of care of his child consumes his family’s day-to-day life and direction, and creates uncertainty about his son’s future beyond the family’s ability to help him and to advocate for his value. 

This book was written partly in documentation of what can only be des­cribed as a life-changing story for one family, but also a very deep and movingly real examination of how our society cares for and values dependent individuals in general. 

Historical atrocities, institutionalization, poverty, mortality, and modern issues of funding, priorities, and systemic ignorance of the lifelong needs of some members of society are introduced as the author discovers them. 

The reader is slowly educated about different life-care philosophies, and there is a hopeful tone, especially near the end, when some radical concepts of cohabitation and acceptance of dependency are experienced by the author. 

I highly recommend this book for anyone, but especially those of us involved with dependent patients or family members. It is not by any means a light read, but it offers a view of life and its possibilities from a perspective we might otherwise never know to appreciate. 

Cynthia Verchere, MD. Book reviews: The Boy in the Moon. BCMJ, Vol. 52, No. 6, July, August, 2010, Page(s) 294 - News.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.

BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:

  • Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
  • There is no period after the journal name.
  • Page numbers are not abbreviated.

For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

Leave a Reply