Dienstag, 18. Februar 2014

[English] Book Review: The Blind Visionary (Doug Eadie, Virginia Jacko)


Virginia Jacko's extraordinary odyssey begins at Purdue University, where she is diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa while serving as a highly successful senior financial executive. As the darkness grew around her, she realized that she would slowly, but surely, go completely blind. Refusing to retreat to bemoan her fate, Virginia starts over as a vocational rehabilitation client at the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Within four years, she rises from Lighthouse student to its president and CEO.

What do I think about this book? It certainly contains some interesting stories abd the occasional tidbits of useful information, although they often lack essential details. But after having read it all the way through, I couldn't help but feel that I just listened to the longest advertisement in history. Kaye Sue Nagle's less than great reading of Virginia Jacko's part in the book, often overarticulating as if she was adressing a class of none-too-bright first graders, certainly emphasized the things I don't like.

Like many of the less stellar rockstar biographies, large parts of this book feel like a not very reflective celebration of one's own greatness, combined with a "We are the Champions" hymn for the Miami Lighthouse for the blind, down to the marvellous sewing needles available in heir shop. The author's otherwise admirable self-esteem at times seems to border on arrogance, and could use a lot more reflection and perhaps a tad more honesty. All of us who try to get the message across, that blind people can do a lot more than sitting at home and listen to the radio, are walking a thing line between demonstrating the concept and showing off, but in this case, it seems to me that line has been crossed.

Do I like this book? I honestly don't know. On the one hand, I don't react kindly to people who sell me marketing material disguised as an autobiography. On the other hand, the story is at times quite interesting, and it could be useful to people who are trying to find their way as a blind person. It certainly demonstrates the fact that blind people can live a happy and successful life. If you're still in doubt on this point and don't mind all the lobbying and self-celebration, this may be a good read for you.

"The Blind Visionary" in the Audible Webshop

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