Rachel DeWoskin
  • Review
By – November 7, 2014

What hap­pens when you wake from a ter­ri­ble night­mare only to dis­cov­er it was not a dream at all, but the rest of your life? Emma is fif­teen when a Fourth of July fire­works rock­et explodes back­wards, burn­ing her eyes and blind­ing her. Emma spends the next two years locked inside her­self, view­ing every­thing from her poor blind kid” perspec­tive as she learns to sur­vive, blind, in the sight­ed” world. 

Author Rachel DeWoskin does an excel­lent job of por­tray­ing Emma’s raw emo­tions, her frus­tra­tions, fears, and over­whelm­ing sense of loss; nev­er to see her sis­ters, broth­er or par­ents, nev­er to dri­ve a car, wor­ry­ing she’d nev­er find any­one who’d want to mar­ry or even kiss her with her scarred eyes. 

Emma is so obsessed with her unfair fate, she los­es sight” of the sup­port she is get­ting from her best friend, her fam­i­ly, and even her teach­ers as she tran­si­tions from the Bri­ar­ly School for the Blind, where she spent the first year after the acci­dent, back to her home­town high school. Short­ly after her return, a new com­pli­ca­tion aris­es. Claire, one of Emma’s class­mates, is found dead, the vic­tim of an appar­ent sui­cide. Emma tries to make sense of Claire’s death while attempt­ing to under­stand the mean­ing of her own life of darkness. 

DeWoskin takes a long time to lead us through Emma’s depres­sion and self-pity, but even­tu­al­ly we see Emma grow and change. Emma gath­ers a group of teens and leads dis­cussions with them about what hap­pened to Claire, and those dis­cus­sions expand beyond one girl’s trag­ic death to bring hope and mean­ing to life and to liv­ing. Emma emerges from her self-imposed cocoon of dark­ness to feel the beau­ty of the world sur­round­ing her. 

Blind is rec­om­mend­ed for ages 12 and up. Par­ents should be aware that offen­sive lan­guage is sprin­kled through­out the book. The sto­ry starts slow­ly, but once the pace picks up, it is an inter­est­ing and fast-paced read, com­plete with a resound­ing mes­sage of hope and a pos­i­tive, sat­is­fy­ing ending.

Mar­cia Ber­neger is a retired teacher who lives with her hus­band and three crazy dogs. She taught both first and sec­ond grade, as well as spe­cial edu­ca­tion. She cur­rent­ly teach­es Torah school, in addi­tion to her vol­un­teer work in class­rooms, libraries, and with var­i­ous fundrais­ers. She lives in San Diego.

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