We stand uncertain while thousands of five o'clock commuters jostle around us.
Beside them, Corky and I are in slow motion We don't know where we are, and though the world is dangerous, it's also haunting in its beauty. Even to a lost man with a speck of something like seeing, this minute here, just standing, taking in the air as a living circus, this is what tears of joy are for. Such waltzing is not easy.
Raised to know I was blind but taught to disavow it, I grew bent over like the dry tinder grass.
I couldn't stand up proudly, nor could I retreat. I reflected my mother's complex bravery and denial and marched everywhere at dizzying speeds without a cane. Still, I remained ashamed of my blind self, that blackened dolmen. May 21, VeganMedusa rated it really liked it Shelves: A lovely book about a man who fought his blindness for most of his life. I nearly cried when he finally gave i A lovely book about a man who fought his blindness for most of his life.
I nearly cried when he finally gave in after many near-death experiences and got a cane, and then a dog. This is an absolutely amazing memoir of being legally blind since birth. The author was raised before the advent of the Americans with Disabilities Act, by parents who didn't want to acknowledge his blindness and by a relatively unsympathetic public school system. Despite those facts, he somehow madly rode his bicycle, charged through life, and achieved advanced degrees in poetry and literature. Written with both wry humor and some very real pain, one can't help but be amazed by the author's ten This is an absolutely amazing memoir of being legally blind since birth.
Written with both wry humor and some very real pain, one can't help but be amazed by the author's tenuous balance between navigating the world with sheer stubbornness and abject terror.
It's a relief for the reader when, at midlife, he finally agrees to use a white cane. The final chapters are about getting a guide-dog just before age Lots in this book is scary for a sighted person to imagine, but there's humor and beauty as well. His follow-up memoir copyright -- eight years after Planet of the Blind is Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening. Nov 02, Renee rated it really liked it. A beautifully written and at times painfully honest memoir about the author's experience growing up legally blind with parents who did not or were not able to accept Kuusisto's limited and failing vision.
Not fully blind, not fully sighted, the author lives in what he describes as "the customs-house of the blind", a midway point between vision and blindness that makes possible his unique perception of the world. He literally stumbled through the first couple of decades of life without a white cane A beautifully written and at times painfully honest memoir about the author's experience growing up legally blind with parents who did not or were not able to accept Kuusisto's limited and failing vision.
He literally stumbled through the first couple of decades of life without a white cane, or adaptive equipment which no surprised, caused him to be an angry teen who struggled first with obesity and then with anorexia.
I had the pleasure of meeting the author as he spoke in Buffalo, NY for a speakers series and was as equally as gifted storyteller as author. I look forward to reading more of his work. Apr 01, Janet Pywell rated it it was amazing.
Stephen Kuusisto's autobiography is amazingly well written. The use of his poetical language contrasts with the horror of his impossible situation - taught by his parents to ignore his visual impairment.
It's his story as he stumbles through life often riding a bicycle, gaining degrees in poetry and literature and his bouts of anorexia and binge eating. Then how his life changes when he meets Corky and you see how important that friendship becomes. Aug 01, Erin Malone rated it it was amazing. This is an inspiring memoir about the author's blindness. How he "passes" as a sighted person for much of his life is both amazing and torturing to consider, and finally his acceptance of himself as he is led me to think about how much we can learn from his account.
View all 3 comments. Apr 23, Kevin rated it really liked it. Loved the poetic descriptions of a world that is felt and heard more than seen. Sep 02, Rose rated it really liked it Shelves: This is a remarkable memoir for many reasons. The author, Stephen Kuusisto, is blind -- but this book is full of visual imagery, imagery which attempts -- for the most part, successfully - to allow the reader to see the world as he sees it. Kalleidoscope colors and shapes, shadows, and often details we sighted readers can recognize from our own experiences, come together to shape his physical world on the page.
I found myself wondering how on earth someone who has been blind his whole life could This is a remarkable memoir for many reasons. I found myself wondering how on earth someone who has been blind his whole life could paint such vivid, colorful pictures in words. It's likewise amazing that the author survived his childhood and early adulthood.
Both he and his mother refused to accept his blindness. Kuusisto went to the same schools his sighted friends attended; rode bicycles; even got behind the wheel of a car. Determined to live a full life?
I think it was both. I'm glad he survived to give us this book, because it is the first book to fully depict for me not only the difficulties of living as a blind person in a world designed by and for the sighted, but the deep and utter loneliness of such a life. The author's refusal for over 25 years to accept his own disability made it all the more lonely for him, as he couldn't live honestly with himself until he finally, in desperation, realized that he needed help. I need help walking.
I've needed help all my life. Kuusisto to a life that's far closer to the one he has wanted than the one he has had while refusing to accept his blindness. The second part of the book, in which Kuusisto learns to navigate with a cane and to train with his first guide dog is quite touching, amusing, and made me want to cheer aloud for him and for Corky, the labrador retriever who becomes his partner. I could feel the hope and relief and joy leap from the pages of this section. The author is a lover and student of literature, and literary allusions are frequent and sometimes a little obscure for the non-literature major.
It's easy to read right by these allusions and still understand and identify with the experience they are used to describe. I highly recommend this book, if for no other reason than its readers can more thoughtfully and respectfully respond to that person with the cane they meet on the sidewalk or in the museum. This book put me on the planet of the blind, and I am changed by having been there. Un mondo meraviglioso ma incompatibile con la vita di ogni giorno, con lo studio, con i viaggi, con la spesa. Eppure fin da piccolo Stephen cerca di vivere come un vedente, sfidando la sorte ad ogni attraversamento di strada, ad ogni viaggio, mentendo a tutti e soprattutto a se stesso, e provocandosi ferite e pene, soprattutto psicologiche.
Bella autobiografia, in cui l'autore non si fa sconti, come spesso accate in questo genere. Jul 19, David rated it really liked it. I read this book to help me get a small sense of what it's like to be blind. It was my after-hours book down at the National Beep Baseball Association World Series, and it gave me some great stuff to chew on.
Kuusisto is especially smart about the patronizing attitude with which many treat the blind, and, then again, the necessary help he's received. A few baseball-specific lines were especially welcome as I considered all these guys playing ball: I eat apples in the dark and spend the entire day alone. Apr 10, Nataliya Piletska rated it really liked it. A beautiful novel depicting a man's reluctance to accept his visual impairment and the struggles he faced throughout life. Exceptional, both as an autobiography and a coming of age novel in its own right.
It's laced with stunning imagery and description that leaves you in disbelief that the author couldn't see what he wrote about and leaves you baffled that sighted people often miss the everyday beauty that he so effectively captured in words. The novel has a quality that I'd be tempted to call A beautiful novel depicting a man's reluctance to accept his visual impairment and the struggles he faced throughout life. The novel has a quality that I'd be tempted to call pretension had it not been so in keeping with the lyrical prose of the book.
The scene with the guide dog had a wonderfully heart-rendering simplicity that needed no elaboration or famous quotation to enhance it. A definite must-read for anyone who needs a reminder not to take sight for granted. Sign in to access your subscriptions Sign in to your personal account. Create a free personal account to download free article PDFs, sign up for alerts, and more. Purchase access Subscribe to the journal.
Create a free personal account to access your subscriptions, sign up for alerts, and more. Purchase access Subscribe to JN Learning for one year. Sign in to download free article PDFs Sign in to access your subscriptions Sign in to your personal account. In this singular memoir, Kuusisto charts the years of a childhood spent behind bottle-lens glasses trying to pass as a normal boy, the depression that brought him from obesity to anorexia, the struggle through high school, college, first love, and sex.
Ridiculed by his classmates, his parents in denial, here is the story of a man caught in a perilous world with no one to trust—until a devastating accident forces him to accept his own disability and place his confidence in the one relationship that can reconnect him to the world—the relationship with his guide dog, a golden Labrador retriever named Corky. With Corky at his side, Kuusisto is again awakened to his abilities, his voice as a writer and his own particular place in the world around him.
Folded into his own experience is the rich folklore the phenomenon of blindness has inspired throughout history and legend. Stephen Kuusisto is an acclaimed author, a poet, and a speaker. He has written a book that makes the reader understand the terrifying experience of blindness and that stands on its own as the lyrical memoir of a poet. Here a soul on a bicycle is propelled by pure desire. And here we, in turn, are propelled toward a new vision.