Monday, July 9, 2007

The Wild Boy

Author: Mordicai Gerstein

First line: Once there was a boy who lived in the mountain forests of southern France.

Why you should read this book: The real Victor was found in 1800, living naked and alone in the forest, and became something of a media sensation before the real Dr. Itard stepped in with the idea of educating him to take his place in society. This book recounts their story, recreating the emotions and sensations experienced by the wild child and the doctor in their quest for understanding. A lovely book that demonstrates compassion and empathy, showing that, while we may not understand the experiences or perceptions of others, we can still feel their joy and sorrow, and help them to thrive.

Why you shouldn't read this book: Gerstein also wrote a full-length novel, Victor, which gives a much more complete account of the same subject, and anyone interested in the wild boy's life or Dr. Itard's methods will do well to turn to the expanded version, rather than the children's book.

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