Julia Spencer takes the reader into her dreams, her fears, her hopes, her deepest private thoughts, and her most candid responses to her shrinking visual world. With humor and a feisty yet surprisingly gentle attitude, she begins to accept vision loss, welcoming her guide dog, Irene, into her life and discovering through that keyhole-sized remnant of vision a deeper understanding of her husband and family and world. The confines of her vision loss cannot restrain the vibrant energy and independence of this remarkable woman. Anyone struggling with a life altering condition will find this story inspiring and motivating.
©2011 Julia Spencer (P)2011 Brook Forest Voices
With a refreshingly painful honestly, Jullia Spencer (please note error above - this is NOT the same person as Julia Spencer-Fleming) interweaves her past into her present as she clearly describes the twists, turns and changes that come into her life as she comes to grips with hereditary visual loss.
The narrator is exceptional as the prose flows through and around all those incidents of daily life that define a person and her place in the world. This is not so much a story about a woman becoming blind (ok, visually impaired) and reclaiming her independence with the aid of a seeing eye dog as it is an exploration of what one values and on what grounds you choose to claim as yours.
Julia, obviously, but the others in her world - her husband, children, grandchildren, trainers at the Seeing Eye... Many of the characters who populate her world are kind and understanding, and wrestle with the implications of vision loss. As someone who has been visually impaired all her life, I can relate surprisingly well to a woman who led a full primarily-sighted life into her fifties. Some of her comments and self-discoveries hvae taken some of my own questions, filed away the jagged edges, and given me my own perspectives and questions.
I haven't. She was a wonderful narrator choice. Another reviewer has stated that it was like having Julia Spencer narrate her own thoughts to me, and I echo that sentiment.
I loved the descriptions of guide dog training. Having lived it myself, I could relate immensely to it, but I found that it took over almost 1/3 of the book, which was quite a bit longer than necessary. Beyond that, this book was a great look at vision loss... but it's more than that. It's a journey of self-discovery, well worth the read.
Breathtakingly Humbling Experience
I loved that this story was so much more than the story of a woman losing her sight, it was a story of the loss of her independence and her fight to regain it.
I haven't listened to Diana Andrade's other performances, but I thought that she told the story excellently, at times you would think it was her story she was telling.
I'm not one to generally cry, but my eyes did well up at times. This story is so emotional at times and it really makes think about the Author's emotional situation.
Anyone who's looking for a story to help them with losing their independence, or anyone looking for an emotional story, or even anyone just looking for a can't-stop-listening story of an amazing woman should definitely not pass this book up, you'll regret it otherwise!
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