cover image Little Victories: Autism Through a Father’s Eyes

Little Victories: Autism Through a Father’s Eyes

Yvon Roy. Titan, $19.99 trade paper (152p) ISBN 978-1-78773-230-8

Canadian artist Roy’s graphic memoir of raising a son with autism is a spirited journey through parenthood that occasionally settles for easy answers. The fallout is immediate when Oliver, the son of Mark (as Roy names himself here) and Chloe, is diagnosed as autistic. Roy separates from Chloe, distrusts the guidelines and teaching tools provided by social workers, and finds himself unable to give up on the son he’d thought he’d raise (he asks his toddler son, “Are you going to have a girlfriend, kids? A life?”). It is, as a friend calls it, his “rock bottom”—but in time, he learns to bond with Oliver through soccer, street hockey, and fishing. Roy’s comical cartooning is a joy to behold, especially its imaginative flourishes, as when calming a tantrum is portrayed as a sparring match between a cub and a full-grown tiger. But Roy’s portrayal of Oliver’s autism as something he should, as he says, “overcome” instead of “learn to live with” invites questions Mark is unwilling to answer. Being significantly impacted by disability is not an option for Oliver, in Mark’s view—wheelchairs and classmates with “quite pronounced” disabilities are invoked as utterly unacceptable futures. This is a tender, uplifting story of father and son bonding, but an unfulfilling work of disability literature. (July)