Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Aaaa! All I think about is the heat. My last place of residence was Southeast Alaska. Let's just say heat waves and droughts there meant it was 70˚ out and that it hadn't rained in a week. 90˚ + humidity, blech! Nevertheless, somewhere in this heat I was able to take refuge next to a fan, in the shade of a tree, and in the air conditioning of the T, and finish an ARC (advanced reading copy) of a young adult book that comes out tomorrow -- well, technically it's classified as middle grade, but because of complex emotions and mature scenes, I deem this a YA.
Ever wonder what it's like to become blind? Priscilla Cummings' Blindsided follows fourteen-year-old Natalie as she loses her sight due to juvenile glaucoma. Now, Natalie has to go to a blind school to learn how to cope with being blind. But adjusting to reading braille and using a cane is the last thing she wants to do. "'Will [Natalie] utilize the skills [she is] learning here to go out and embrace the world? [Or will she] go home to Mom and Dad and hide out, living scared?'"
I used to work at a braille publishing house and throughout every scene of Blindsided, I could see an accurate reflection in what it was like to be blind and the endless frustrations and sightless lifestyle that often surround it. This is the kind of book that I think a lot of people have been looking for. Good books that portray blind persons are practically non-existent. The only decent books out in my opinion -- at least of literary quality -- are retellings of Helen Keller. I fully commend this author for researching blindness so thoroughly. This is a book that has long been needed in today's market.
I give it 3.5 stars. Okay, so why not a perfect score? Don't get me wrong, I couldn't put this book down... However, there were a few scenes I saw coming from far away. Furthermore, there were a few moments where the writing was fragmented (hopefully that is all cleared out, as ARCs are often full of mistakes and unedited lines). Blindsided also borders on being an issue book -- a book that focuses on one specific theme without subplots or much of anything else -- however, because Natalie is learning the blind lifestyle alongside the reader I did not see it as a huge distraction. Did I mention she also lives on a goat farm? And yes, that is one of many sub plots. There were a few awkward moments that came out a bit clunky, but nevertheless, the overall plot shines out over that. If nothing else, Blindsided will give you a lot of insight if you have ever been curious about blindness.