Another short review because I am so behind!
The Country Of The Blind: A Memoir At The Edge Of Sight by Andrew Leland is about the author’s experience losing his sight due to retinitis pigmentosa, a condition that causes the gradual loss of vision over decades. At times it is intensely personal, while at others it is an almost academic treatise on blindness through history and the organizations and institutions devoted to representing and advocating for the blind.
Why I picked it up: I heard a lot of really good things about this book and figured that this was exactly what memoirs are for: to learn what it is like to live a life very different from mine.
There is a lot to admire in The Country Of The Blind. Never self-pitying, Leland talks about how his condition has worsened very gradually, allowing him to make modifications over time to adapt to losing his sight. This has given him time to adjust mentally, emotionally, and philosophically, to the way blindness has and will continue to change his relationships, his perception of himself, and the way he engages with the world. I enjoyed his personal insights and appreciated his honesty and humor. I didn’t enjoy the more academic sections as much – a little too much history and politics. But I learned quite a bit about how the blind navigate modern life.
I listened to The Country Of The Blind on audio, which I recommend because it is narrated by Leland. I did find my mind wandering a bit in the drier parts, but overall I liked the audio and got a lot out of the book.
The Country Of The Blind was the 46th book of 2023 and satisfies the memoir category of the 2023 EDIWTB Reading Challenge.