Sunday, 12 March 2017

Not If I See You First

Parker doesn’t want to be treated differently because she’s blind. After her father dies, her aunt, uncle and cousins move in so she doesn’t have to learn a new school, but they don’t understand her like her dad did. And her school has merged with another, meaning a lot of new, and not-so-new, voices in the halls, including the boy who broke her heart and her trust.

It’s a common belief that losing your sight heightens your other senses, and it’s true, but not by magnifying them. It just gets rid of the overwhelming distraction of seeing everything all the time.

Parker’s attitude is common to people who want to hide their weaknesses. In her case, it’s not her blindness but her grief. She says she speaks the truth but denying her own feelings a lot of the time. She might not be a character you warm instantly to, but she does grow on you.

Parker wasn't born blind but lost her sight in an accident. Conveniently for the narrative, she would have been old enough to know about colours and expressions yet young enough that she would be able to adapt quickly. Her narration doesn't shy away from describing things by their appearance, relying on the fact her friends tell her what things look like. It would have been stronger if it tried to focus more on just her other senses. Linda Gillard's Star Gazing, for instance, does a fantastic job of trying to describe the world through someone who has never seen it.

One thing that Parker can’t do is make snap judgements based on appearance. What Molly looks like makes no difference to her, as a reader we might have made judgements though, and what she looks like is only revealed after Parker has got to know her. I liked that Faith goes against the grain of the archetypal popular girl. Her first words spoken might seem like the stereotype of mean girl but she turns out to be so lovely and loyal, whilst still having a life separate from Parker.

They don’t follow The Rules. Which shouldn’t even be called Parker’s Rules anyway. It’s just a lot of common sense that common people commonly lack.

She has a set of rules that people should abide by in order to interact with her. These are generally good rules to keep in mind, no sudden touching or sneaking up, using her blindness to deceive her or trying to be helpful when she doesn’t need it. However, rule infinity is her zero tolerance policy for breaking the rules, a refusal of forgiveness. And her ex is the reason for its existence. She slowly must come to terms with her stubbornness.

Parker’s also a runner, even if she tries to keep it secret. The story cover a little of the ins and outs of running competitively as a blind person, but also how it can be something liberating.

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Book Source: Purchased

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