Summary and book reviews of Cockeyed by Ryan Knighton

Cockeyed

A Memoir

by Ryan Knighton

Cockeyed
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2006, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2007, 288 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

This irreverent, tragicomic, politically incorrect, astoundingly articulate memoir about going blind – and growing up.

This irreverent, tragicomic, politically incorrect, astoundingly articulate memoir about going blind–and growing up—illuminates not just the author's reality, but the reader's.

On his 18th birthday, Ryan Knighton was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), a congenital, progressive disease marked by night-blindness, tunnel vision and, eventually, total blindness. In this penetrating, nervy memoir, which ricochets between meditation and black comedy, Knighton tells the story of his fifteen-year descent into blindness while incidentally revealing the world of the sighted in all its phenomenal peculiarity. Knighton learns to drive while unseeing; has his first significant relationship—with a deaf woman; navigates the punk rock scene and men's washrooms; learns to use a cane; and tries to pass for seeing while teaching English to children in Korea. Stumbling literally and emotionally into darkness, into love, into couch-shopping at Ikea, into adulthood, and into truce if not acceptance of his identity as a blind man, his writerly self uses his disability to provide a window onto the human condition. His experience of blindness offers unexpected insights into sight and the other senses, culture, identity, language, our fears and fantasies. Cockeyed is not a conventional confessional. Knighton is powerful and irreverent in words and thought and impatient with the preciousness we've come to expect from books on disability. Readers will find it hard to put down this wild ride around their everyday world with a wicked, smart, blind guide at the wheel.

Ryan Knighton teaches contemporary literature and creative writing at Capilano College in Vancouver, British Columbia, and served for two years as editor of the literary magazine The Capilano Review. The author of a book of poetry and co-author of a collection of short fiction, Knighton has also published widely as a journalist and essayist. He has also produced, written and performed radio monologues and documentaries about blindness for the CBC.

Pontiac Rex

Not seeing something, not seeing an indication of
something, does not lead automatically to the conclusion
that there is nothing.

—Hans Blix, The Guardian, June 2003

Unbeknownst to my family, my physician, or the motor vehicle branch, by the age of seventeen, I was going blind behind the wheel of my father's 1982 Pontiac Acadian. Feel free to shudder. Other soon-to-be-blind people are on the road today enjoying a similar story, only they've still got some damage to do. Maybe you'll meet one of them at an intersection.

Driving beckoned me the moment I turned sixteen, but my parents thought I'd benefit first from a driver's education course. Or two. Maybe three. I was that hopeless. Not much of what I learned remains in my brain, but I do remember my teacher, a greasy-haired man who insisted I call him Buddy.

For several months, Buddy picked me up once a week in his school's red Ford Taurus. The car was equipped with an extra brake on ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

A wickedly funny, occasionally angry, book that is likely to give you a totally different perspective on disabilities in general, and blindness in particular.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Full Review Members Only (212 words).

Media Reviews

Tucson Citizen

The narrative is powerful and irreverent, and readers will find it impossible to put down

Entertainment Weekly

Those of us in the sighted world may have walked past a blind person and asked, "How, exactly, do they do it?" Knighton, a creative-writing teacher whose talent shines on every page of this feisty, bittersweet memoir, both answers that question and shrugs it off as he describes his 15-year descent into darknessā€¦ it's his penchant for disdaining pity and shame that makes this such a compelling, sturdy read. Grade A.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review....a journey that no reader should refuse, to see life through another lens.

Entertainment Weekly

Knighton's talent shines on every page of this feisty, bittersweet memoir... a compelling, sturdy read.

Kirkus Reviews

Engaging and insightful, literally shedding light on a dark and misunderstood condition.

Reader Reviews

Nany Gordon

I loved this book!
This was a very enlightening book. The author writes about his experience going from seeing to blind as a teenager. He describes driving (something he shouldn't have been doing -- but he was still unaware of how serious his problem was) & ending up ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Ryan Knighton teaches contemporary literature and creative writing at Capilano College in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  He's the author of two books of poetry, Swing in The Hollow (2002)  and Two Bits (2007), and co-author of a collection of short fiction (Cars, 2002); he has also published widely as a journalist and essayist, and has produced, written and performed radio monologues and documentaries about blindness for the CBC.

He was born in 1972, in British Columbia, Canada and in 1995 completed a BA Honours in English at Simon ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Cockeyed, try these:

  • For the Benefit of Those Who See jacket

    For the Benefit of Those Who See

    by Rosemary Mahoney

    Published 2015

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Rosemary Mahoney tells the story of Braille Without Borders, the first school for the blind in Tibet, and of Sabriye Tenberken, the remarkable blind woman who founded the school.

  • Talking Hands jacket

    Talking Hands

    by Margalit Fox

    Published 2008

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Imagine a village where everyone "speaks" sign language. Just such a village -- an isolated Bedouin community in Israel with an unusually high rate of deafness -- really exists. There, an indigenous sign language has sprung up, used by deaf and hearing villagers alike. It is a language no outsider has been able to decode, until now.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Here I Am
    Here I Am
    by Jonathan Safran Foer
    With almost all the accoutrements of upper middle-class suburban life, Julia and Jacob Bloch fit the...
  • Book Jacket: Harmony
    Harmony
    by Carolyn Parkhurst
    In previous novels such as The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst has shown herself...
  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Darling Days
    by iO Tillett Wright

    A devastatingly powerful memoir of one young woman's extraordinary coming of age.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Circling the Sun
by Paula McLain

An intoxicatingly vivid portrait of colonial Kenya and its privileged inhabitants.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.