“That extra chromosome”


I am convinced that we not choose the books, they choose us.

I wonder why. Who knows how?

When last year, I accompanied a friend to Termini station, I – as always – ended up in the bookstore and by chance I took in my hands “My brother chases dinosaurs”, I was looking for something else . A lighter, more lively reading, so after reading the back cover I put it where it was.

But a few steps further and here it reappears, someone must have left it by mistake (or for me) in the wrong place, among other authors, other plots, other characters. It stood there, lost, lost. Abandoned.

I also took the light book I was looking for, but at the cashier I realized that I had no longer placed this strange novel with such a delicate plot[1], whether it was fate or distraction, I took it.

I started reading it right away, in the subway.

Giovanni is a wonderful child. But his brother is too. What is most surprising is that it was written by a boy in his early twenties, who, however, manages to describe all the emotions with marvelous maturity and delicacy. He tells about his life and his relationship with his brother in a simple yet profound way.

To me, who have an excellent relationship with my brother, and who in my life have often had people with Down syndrome in class or at work, what made me smile and excite are the simplest, most daily steps. . The initial difficulty in accepting this “special” brother, so human, without any mask of do-goodness at all costs. Because it’s not always all plain sailing in relationships defined as “normal”, let alone with a tangible difficulty!

And I loved the growth of this relationship, of Giacomo who understands Giovanni, and of Giovanni who fills his life.

I do not honestly know why this diary-book was wanted to be found by me, but I am pleased, it would be for children to read in schools to learn how diversity can be an added value.

[1] You are five years old, two sisters and would like a little brother so much to play boyish games with him. One evening your parents tell you that you will have this brother and that he will be special. You are very happy: special, for you, means “superhero”. You can also choose his name: Giovanni. Then he is born, and little by little you understand that yes, he is different from the others, but he does not have superpowers. Eventually you discover the word Down, and your enthusiasm turns into rejection, even shame. You will have to go through adolescence to realize that your initial idea was not so wrong. Let yourself be overwhelmed by Giovanni’s vitality to conclude that perhaps he really is a superhero.

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