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by Rachel DeWoskin
read by Annalie Gernert
©2014 Listening Library
10 hours 40 minutes unabridged
Genres: young adult
Filed in: Audiobook Reviews
5 out of 5 halos
PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: When Emma Sasha Silver loses her eyesight in a nightmare accident, she must relearn everything from walking across the street to recognizing her own sisters to imagining colors. One of seven children, Emma used to be the invisible kid, but now it seems everyone is watching her. And just as she's about to start high school and try to recover her friendships and former life, one of her classmates is found dead in an apparent suicide. Fifteen and blind, Emma has to untangle what happened and why - in order to see for herself what makes life worth living.
Unflinching in its portrayal of Emma's darkest days, yet full of hope and humor, Rachel DeWoskin's brilliant Blind is one of those rare books that utterly absorbs the listener into the life and experience of another.
©2014 Rachel DeWoskin (P)2014 Listening Library
AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: So you may not be aware of this if you haven’t done much exploring around Audiobook-Heaven, but I used to be blind. Long story, but I was blind for almost three years before recovering my eyesight. It was an interesting time in my life to say the least: learning to walk and use the computer and lots of other things all over again. In fact that was when I was introduced to audiobooks, which I still love even now that I have my sight back and it was because of my own experience as a blind person that initially drew me to Rachel DeWoskin’s Blind.
Main character Emma was a pretty ordinary teenager before her accident. She was at an age where she was starting to notice boys even if they weren’t noticing her. Like most teenagers she was still a bit self-centered. Then in the blink of an eye, so to speak, her whole life changed. Everything she took for granted had to be relearned. Emma, already an introvert, drew even further into herself and often lashed out at those closest to her. Leaving her old friends and going to a special school for the blind was tortuous. But as she gradually learns to navigate a world designed for the sighted, her true healing begins. This is Emma’s coming-of-age story. Helped along by her accident, the death of a classmate, and the betrayal of a best friend, Emma matures into a strong and courageous young woman, even someone that others look to for leadership. It’s the story of the difficult journey that we all must make at some point in our lives.
Listening to the story of how Emma lost her sight in a tragic Fourth-of-July accident and had to learn new ways of doing all the things she used to take for granted struck a deeply resonant chord in me. I was vividly transported back to my own blind days as Emma walked with her cane, learned how to pour a drink without spilling, and struggled to find a balance between independence and the need for help. I totally related to her initial feelings of wanting to be left alone, to become invisible, but as Emma herself says, ”…being blind is the exact opposite of being invisible.” I thought for sure that Rachel DeWoskin must be blind to have captured the experience so deftly but I read her bio on Wikipedia and it doesn’t mention anything about it. I’m guessing she has probably spent a good deal of time with a blind person because she shows an amazingly in-depth knowledge of what it’s like.
Blind is a great book for anyone who has experienced being blind, but I think it has a much more general appeal than that. We all, mostly when we’re young but not always, suffer from blindness, some of us literally and others figuratively. Growing up and learning how to navigate in the world is a process we must all go through. Rachel DeWoskin’s description of Emma’s journey would be a good read for anyone.
Annalie Gernert’s narration was entirely appropriate for this book. Her voice was an excellent match for main character Emma, not only the physical sound of her voice but her intonation and inflection. Gernert captured Emma’s wit and sarcasm perfectly. Her voice actually reminded me a lot of Emma Galvin, which is high praise indeed (see the 2012 Halo Awards). Annalie is relatively new to the audiobook industry and has only a handful of books to her credit but I predict she will have a long and successful career in the field if she chooses to stick with it.
IF YOU LIKED THIS ONE, YOU MAY ALSO LIKE
Traveling Blind: Adventures In Vision With A Guide-Dog By My Side by Susan Krieger (Audiobook Review)
All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Audiobook Review)
Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson (Audiobook Review)
Special thanks to Listening Library for this review copy. Audiobook review by Steven Brandt. This audiobook review is based on the unabridged audiobook. Come back soon for more audiobook reviews from Audiobook-Heaven.