JON O: A Special Boy by Elaine Ominsky

JON O: A Special Boy

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Photographer Simonetti doesn't mince shots; beginning with the clownlike grin on the jacket, retarded Jon O (a victim of Down's Syndrome) is seen in just those peculiar postures and expressions that move some kids to uncomfortable mockery and most to look away. In comparison Agre's pictures for Sobol's My Brother Steven Is Retarded (p. 168, J-44) might seem less than candid, but most will simply find Agre more tactful. And if Simonetti pulls no punches, Ominsky's babyish text--while acknowledging that Jon O's brothers sometimes get impatient and that he is sometimes distressed--hits false notes with the assurances that ""Jon O was so proud"" when he finally learned to walk and talk and that ""He's lots of fun"" at birthday parties. There's a distasteful puckered-up kiss shown beside the assertion that ""His friends like him very much,"" and to end with the little boy grinning smugly behind the words ""Jon O is a very special boy"" only makes the already euphemistic ""special"" designation for such children seem pathetically absurd.

Pub Date: May 16th, 1977
Publisher: Prentice-Hall