October 16, 2011

Invisible by Hugues De Montalembert

What would you do if suddenly you could no longer see the world around you?  The leaves as they change from green to red and yellow, your favorite movie, or the smile of the one you love. Would you be able to overcome the obstacle and chalk it up to another one of life's lessons or would your life turn to turmoil and despair?

Painter Hugues de Montalembert's life included a little bit of both. Attacked one summer night in his New York apartment, this man whose livelihood depended on his eyes, lost his sight forever. Invisible is a memoir of his experience adjusting, growing, and at times, failing as he learned to live his new life. As he put it, "Many people think the loss of my sight has been a terrible rupture in my life. But no, it's not a rupture at all - life just went on, but in a different way."

The book is full of his own personal experiences, experiences of others, and philosophical comments on learning how to see without your eyes. The writing is randomly split up into small chunks focusing on a point or story that the author is trying to make. While it helps to keep the book moving, it also made it difficult to connect the dots on an overall idea and purpose behind the book.

Honestly, at times (especially during the philosophical moments) it was awe inspiring to learn along with him and at other times I was bored with his experiences and ready to read something else. It's a very short book (125 pages, some pages with only a few lines of text) and was worth the hour or so it took me to read, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it to a friend, possibly someone who has gone through tragedy (especially affecting their sight) and needs to read and hear about others experiences into darkness and back, but not just your average reader. 3 stars

I received a free copy of this book for review purposes.


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