- Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-316-30535-8 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-316-30533-4 $9.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 7-10
Born completely blind, sixteen-year-old Will Porter is now being mainstreamed into public school, where he teams up with a group of friends and begins a relationship with a girl named Cecily. When he undergoes a surgery to give him sight, he finds that Cecily and her friends have not been honest with him about her appearance. It’s the lack of trust, rather than her prominent facial birthmark, that causes him to break it off with her, but when he realizes that he may once again lose his eyesight, he knows he wants to reconnect with her. The details of Will’s surgery and recovery are loosely based on actual cases, and Sundquist does a nice job of getting inside the head of a person who has absolutely no visual frames of reference for metaphor or social cues. By providing explanations of how Will processes the world in conversations with Cecily about art and sunsets, the book slips in a lot of fascinating details about sensory processing without it feeling intrusive or overly clinical. Especially interesting is the way the world appears to Will immediately after the surgery—the sonic sensation of darkness, the nauseating swirl of undifferentiated color, his inability to pick out discrete objects without touching them, and the work of learning perspective are among the many challenges he faces as his brain rewires itself for visual inputs. For budding scientists and future doctors, these details offer new thoughts as well as context for understanding the real stories of [End Page 283] people gaining eyesight after blindness and then wishing they hadn’t; even readers who just came for the romance will find themselves understanding the “tyranny of the visual” in new ways.