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Blind Man's Bluff

A Memoir

by James Tate Hill

Blind Man's Bluff by James Tate Hill X
Blind Man's Bluff by James Tate Hill
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There are currently 26 member reviews
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  • Rita H. (Centennial, CO)
    Blind to Others
    I seldom read memoirs because I always fear they will be irritatingly self-serving. I would not say that about this memoir. I found it a readable, engaging and quick read. Although it gave me some insight into the author's feelings, I lost respect for him as an adult. I have worked with young people with many kinds of disabilities for many years, and I recognize that most people, especially teenagers do not want to feel any different than their peers. Obviously, the author epitomized that feeling, even to the point of putting himself in physical danger when crossing streets where he was unable to see whether or not there were cars approaching. I would say that I was both appalled and dismayed to find that he carried this dangerous denial into adulthood and I understand Meredith's frustration with it. He did accomplish a great deal by sheer determination but did it really give him the life he wanted? He wanted to blend in but an outsiders quickly saw or sensed his difference. If they did not actually know about his blind condition, then, they seemed to find him just odd and they avoided him. He seemed to acknowledge this in one way but refused to see the real remedies despite the fact that he recognized how technology could help him. He did mention his parents' initial support but I would have been interested in hearing more about this. Did they ever really realize how impacted he was by his lack of vision. He does not mention any counseling regarding his blindness. I wonder why that never happened. At the end, I felt pity for him. It appears this is what he was trying so hand to avoid.
  • Paula K. (Champaign, IL)
    Groping in the Near-Dark
    I so wanted to like this memoir from J. T. Hill. Although there were parts of it that I found quite interesting, in the end the book didn't work for me. Technically, I found the constant switching of the narrative voice between first and second person to be distracting and confusing. But more fundamentally, I was frustrated by the barrier Hill places between himself ands readers. Continuing to be concerned about how other people perceive him, he relates a mostly superficial version of what is a complicated and complex story of a man struggling with the near-loss of his sight and, more fundamentally, with his perception of himself.
  • Lauri Z. (Washington, DC)
    A quick read
    This is a memoir written in the first and second person by a man who loses most of his vision in both eyes by the time he turns seventeen. He reflects on his struggle to accept this fate and his decision to hide his blindness from most of the people he interacts with, as well as with those whom he forms intimate relationships. As a self-professed struggling writer he seems to share his story with the reader on multiple levels; both with the goal of actually getting the memoir published, as seen through his documented failures to get works published in the past, and his desire to tell his story.

    My sense is that writing it so it was a commercial success took away from the story telling. I didn't understand the author's purpose in switching back and forth between first and second person. Second person storytelling is not a style I have come across very often, and it didn't add anything to the writing.

    As a reader I wanted to experience his angst of managing his blindness while living a false narrative. I felt as though he was skimming the surface of his emotions and wrote more about the impact of this omission on his daily life activities and thus his relationships at a given point in time. This definitely left me wanting more and perhaps even manipulated by his desire for commercial success. I began to feel this way when early in the book he began documenting his many fits and starts as an unpublished author.

    This book left me with an overarching sense of wanting to congratulate the author for getting the book published. In fact when I read the "blurbs" on the back cover of the book after I read it, I was very surprised by the comments. The quotation I most related to was a reference to the story as "like going out for coffee with your funniest friend". To me this implies a lighthearted casual catch up. And this is exactly how I felt when I finished the book.

    I'd recommend the books with a shrug of my shoulders- a quick read but not particularly memorable.
  • Susanna K. (Willow Street, PA)
    Acceptance
    Adjusting to losing your eyesight would be difficult if you had been sighted into your teens! One would empathize with James Hill at his attempt to "bluff" his way but after a while his situation became repetitious and tiring. It had been hoped that he would develop confidence to admit he needed help but he continued to go to great lengths to hide it. It wasn't until the last few pages he appeared to finally enjoy and accept his disability! There is a childhood game child called "Blind Man's Bluff" where you had to use your senses while blindfolded. Perhaps this is what he was trying to do - use his senses to find his way in the world!
  • Linda J. (Urbana, OH)
    Seeing is believing?
    To me, a disappointment. The inside flap describes it as "candid yet humorous." Candid it is. Humorous, not so much.
    I picked this book to review since I have vision "issues" and thought I'd see some parallels.
    Hill becomes legally blind at 16, but doesn't want anyone to know. His explanation for much of his life is "vision issues" which doesn't begin to cover his issues. Most of those issues have to do with his inability to develop meaningful relationships, especially with the opposite sex. He explains this as "not being able to see the physical cues" others would be displaying.
    The man managed to earn 3 Master's degrees, yet seems to zone in what he can't do because he won't share that he can't see.

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