This irreverent, tragicomic, astoundingly articulate memoir about going blind--and growing up--illuminates both the author's reality and our own
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On his 18th birthday, Ryan Knighton was diagnosed with
Retinitis Pigmentosa, a congenital, progressive disease
marked by night-blindness, tunnel vision and, eventually,
total blindness. In this penetrating, nervy memoir, which
ricochets between meditation and black comedy, Knighton
tells the story of his fifteen-year descent into blindness
while incidentally revealing the world of the sighted in all
its phenomenal peculiarity.
Knighton learns to drive while unseeing; has his first
significant relationship-with a deaf woman; navigates the
punk rock scene and men's washrooms; learns to use a cane;
and tries to pass for seeing while teaching English to
children in Korea. Stumbling literally and emotionally into
darkness, into love, into couch-shopping at Ikea, into
adulthood, and into truce if not acceptance of his identity
as a blind man, his writerly self uses his disability to
provide a window onto the human condition. His experience of
blindness offers unexpected insights into sight and the
other senses, culture, identity, language, our fears and
Cockeyed is not a conventional confessional. Knighton is
powerful and irreverent in words and thought and impatient
with the preciousness we've come to expect from books on
disability. Readers will find it hard to put down this wild
ride around their everyday world with a wicked, smart, blind
guide at the wheel.
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