Walking out of the DARK
ISBN: 9780993240201, a novel based on a true story in e-book by Steven R, Mailkowski,
Mike, the protagonist, is a young man in his twenties who has moved from his rural home to the city to attend a school for the blind. The move has been recommended because, although he still has marginal vision, he has been told it gradually will fade. To save money his residence is a rather run-down hotel/boarding house peopled by druggies and prostitutes among others. It is cheap and close to school, however. The story follows Mike and his activities as he interacts with Ruby, an interesting resident of his hotel, Margaret, his first teacher, George, a somewhat older fellow student who was an auto mechanic, Norman, a former football coach, Samantha (Sam) a lovely younger teacher and others as well as some of their friends and/or acquaintances.
Discussion: The author has provided a quite engrossing look at the activities of sightless individuals. The thought and practice that is required for the simplest activity and how the slightest wrong or not well-thought-out move could cause a problem that could range anywhere from amusing to complete disaster. The entire tale is absorbing and is set forth in an intriguingly light ‘up-beat’ manner that glosses over the devastating effect that the sightless person must experience and avoids much of the ‘downside per se’ and the more obnoxious individuals who no doubt are encountered. Instead it focuses on the statement: “There are a lot of things you can do in a bad situation; try to choose something that doesn’t make it worse.” It concentrates on the tremendous strength, fortitude and humor exhibited by the affected individuals and even describes some of the physical games devised for and by the blind for entertainment – games ranging from a type of baseball called Beep Ball to such dangerous sports as downhill ski racing where the skier is followed by another with sight who, when approaching the flags, shouts to a blind watcher that it is time to vigorously shake a tambourine so the blind skier will know the flag has been reached so as to make the appropriate turn.
Conclusion: This book is a worthwhile read that provides a number of insights into the world of sightlessness that demonstrates existence of a degree of resilience, hope and humor that is amazing.
5* Nicely constructed/presented fictional memoire, highly recommended.