Stephen Kuusisto, an American, has been almost completely blind since a post-natal operation severely damaged his retinas. In this autobiography he tells of the years of lonely childhood spent behind bottle-lens glasses, the struggle through high school and college, and first love and sex. Derided by classmates, his parents pretending that nothing ...
Stephen Kuusisto, an American, has been almost completely blind since a post-natal operation severely damaged his retinas. In this autobiography he tells of the years of lonely childhood spent behind bottle-lens glasses, the struggle through high school and college, and first love and sex. Derided by classmates, his parents pretending that nothing was wrong, he stumbled through life enraged and mortified. Only when a five-year-old labrador entered his life did he begin to trust, and learn to "walk upright".
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Author's childhood was spent trying to fit in as someone who happened to be "near-sighted" - truth is he's been legally blind since the time he started school. Getting to the "liberation" scene of him going out for the first time with Corky, not having to worry about where he was going, is worth the read alone.
Publishers Weekly, 1997-10-20 The sightless Kuusisto escorts readers across the planet of the blind on a somber, exquisitely phrased, ultimately uplifting visit. So powerful is his narration that it will alter the reader's perceptions of blindness. Almost totally sightless since his birth in 1955 in New Hampshire, son of a mother who was so involved in the spirit world she failed to notice the severity of her son's lack of vision, and whose professor father was not educated in sensitive parenting, Kuusisto struggled to "pass" as sighted throughout childhood, college, a Fulbright study in Finland and several years of primary-school teaching. His agonies are made even more palpable by the cruelty he encountered, like one instructor at the Iowa Writers' Workshop who berated Kuusisto for his slowness. Not until his late 30s did the author realize that by pretending to be independent he inflicted a heavy responsibility on strangers. At the time he was living in a bedroom community of New York City and was in a panic over finding a job. Then he made the momentous decision to get a guide dog. As we witness his training with Corky, a yellow Labrador retriever, we feel Kuusisto's exhilaration and are assured that he is only just beginning to achieve his life's potential. (Jan.)
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