A Good Story but Unrealistic Portrayal of Rehabilitation: My Review of Guiding Emily by Barbara Hinske #FantasticFridayReads #Fiction #Inspiration

What Audible Says

 

Sometimes the perfect partner has four paws….

Emily Main had it all: a high-powered career with a leading technology giant and a handsome fiancé bounding up the corporate ladder. Their island wedding and honeymoon were idyllic, until a tragic accident causes her retinas to detach.

Her well-ordered life is shattered as all treatments are unsuccessful and she slips into blindness. How will those around her cope with her tragedy? Can she rebuild her life in this most unwelcome new normal?

Meanwhile, a black Lab puppy named Garth fulfills his destiny to become that most esteemed of all creatures: a guide dog.

Guiding Emily is a heartwarming tale of love, loss, and courage as Garth and Emily make their way to each other.

 

Buy from Audible.

 

My Thoughts

 

I had opportunities to hear Barbara Hinske on two separate podcasts. She described what inspired her to write Guiding Emily and how she visited a training center for the blind as part of her research for the book. I found this fascinating.

That having been said, I’m not seeing “this most unwelcome new normal.” Just about everyone Emily comes in contact with after losing her vision knows how to help a blind person, and that doesn’t always happen in the real world. I should know. I’m visually impaired.

I would have liked to see more of Emily’s struggle to re-learn mundane skills such as cooking and dressing that most of us take for granted being able to do. Having worked with adults who lost their vision, I know how difficult the adjustment can be, but the author makes Emily’s rehabilitation sound like a piece of cake when I’m sure it wouldn’t have been.

I’ve never used a guide dog, but I know plenty of people who have them and have read many true stories about such experiences. Barbara Hinske breezes through Emily’s training with her guide dog, making it sound easier than it would have been.

Despite these shortcomings, I enjoyed Emily and Garth’s story. The chapters from the dog’s point of view add a nice touch. I like the narrators of this Audible version: a male reading chapters from the dog’s point of view and a female reading chapters from other characters’ points of view.

The prologue, in which Garth describes meeting Emily for the first time, is a red herring. I thought Garth was a human and was about to figuratively toss the book aside in disgust with this character who wanted to eat a Cheeto off the floor when I realized Garth was a dog. I love it!

Guiding Emily is the first in a trilogy. Although most loose ends are tied up at the end, one still flops in the breeze. So, I plan to check out the other two books in the series plus some of Barbara Hinske’s other work.

 

Abbie wears a blue and white V-neck top with different shades of blue from sky to navy that swirl together with the white. She has short, brown hair and rosy cheeks and smiles at the camera against a black background.

Photo Courtesy of Tess Anderson Photography

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Two Pentacles Publishing.

If you haven’t already done so, please subscribe to my email list to receive my twice-yearly newsletter and other announcements. This is a one-way announcements list, meaning the only messages you’ll receive will come from me. So, you can rest assured that this list is low-traffic. Send a blank email to:  newsfrommycorner+subscribe@groups.io  You’ll receive a confirmation email. Reply to that with another blank message, and you should be good to go.

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Photo Resize and Description by

Two Pentacles Publishing.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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For Fun and Education: My Review of History Mystery in Philadelphia by Cheryl McNeil Fisher #FantasticFridayReads #Fiction #Inspiration

What Amazon Says

 

Cheryl’s stories read with as much action, humor and intrigue as an adult book. You will be hooked right from the start when the spirit of Benjamin Franklin visits Sammy requesting his assistance in a mission of national importance.

Will they find Thomas Jefferson’s portable writing desk? What does it hold in the secret compartment?

The author creatively intertwines fact and fiction by using dialogue that makes the reader feel like they are right-there, in the story.

The 4th book in The Adventure of a Guide Dog Team series. New commands, why a guide dog team has to do things a certain way, and there is even a diagram showing the different parts of Sammy’s harness.

Excitement builds, and you’ll be anticipating where next they will go…

 

Buy from Amazon.

 

My Thoughts

 

As I said last week when I reviewed Time Capsule here, I met Cheryl McNeil Fisher through Writing Works Wonders and Behind Our Eyes. After attending a recent book launch event where I heard rave reviews of History Mystery in Philadelphia from other readers, I decided to give it a try and am glad I did.

I was drawn into Sammy’s story from the first page. I like the way Cheryl educates readers about our nation’s history, blindness, and the use of guide dogs while weaving a fun, fantastical story. The information about how she was inspired to write the book plus resources at the end add a nice touch. Although it’s a little late now, this book would make a great Halloween read without the fright.

Abbie wears a blue and white V-neck top with different shades of blue from sky to navy that swirl together with the white. She has short, brown hair and rosy cheeks and smiles at the camera against a black background.

Photo Courtesy of Tess Anderson Photography

Photo Resize and Description by

Two Pentacles Publishing.

If you haven’t already done so, please subscribe to my email list to receive my twice-yearly newsletter and other announcements. This is a one-way announcements list, meaning the only messages you’ll receive will come from me. So, you can rest assured that this list is low-traffic. Send a blank email to:  newsfrommycorner+subscribe@groups.io  You’ll receive a confirmation email. Reply to that with another blank message, and you should be good to go.

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Photo Resize and Description by

Two Pentacles Publishing.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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Paws on the Street Part Twenty-Nine – Dumpsters, Car Monsters, and Holes in the Ground #SocialMediaMonday #Reblogs #Inspiration

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. Her brown hair is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like for a guide dog to work with a blind person? Well, Chief Seeing Eye® Dog Blue gives us a glimpse into his life in the post I’m sharing today, from the blog of his mommy, Patty Fletcher, author and owner of TELL IT TO THE WORLD MARKETING. Enjoy!

***

Hi, everybody!

Chief Seeing Eye® Dog Blue here!

Mommy has been upset lately, thinking we don’t get enough work and I don’t understand why mommy is worrying about how much work we do cause I got to tell you, working for my mommy is kinda hard but great all at once. This morning, when we went out after the big truck delivered all her cold food, of which I got none, we had to take out all the trash. Nobody ever told me I had to take out the trash. But while we were out there this dumb human put their car monster in the middle of the parking lot. Not in one of its places but right smack in the way of where we needed to go.

 

Read the original post.

Friendship in the Face of Bigotry #FridayFunReads

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Have You Seen Luis Velez?

by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Copyright 2019.

 

What Amazon Says

 

New York Times bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde brings heartwarming authenticity to the story of two strangers who find that kindness is a powerful antidote to fear.

Raymond Jaffe feels like he doesn’t belong. Not with his mother’s new family. Not as a weekend guest with his father and his father’s wife. Not at school, where he’s an outcast. After his best friend moves away, Raymond has only two real connections: to the feral cat he’s tamed and to a blind ninety-two-year-old woman in his building who’s introduced herself with a curious question: Have you seen Luis Velez?

Mildred Gutermann, a German Jew who narrowly escaped the Holocaust, has been alone since her caretaker disappeared. She turns to Raymond for help, and as he tries to track Luis down, a deep and unexpected friendship blossoms between the two.

Despondent at the loss of Luis, Mildred isolates herself further from a neighborhood devolving into bigotry and fear. Determined not to let her give up, Raymond helps her see that for every terrible act the world delivers, there is a mirror image of deep kindness, and Mildred helps Raymond see that there’s hope if you have someone to hold on to.

 

Buy from Amazon.

 

My Thoughts

 

It’s interesting how we don’t learn right away that Raymond is black. In the beginning, it’s clear that his mother, half sisters, and stepfather, who are all white, are, for the most part, indifferent to him. But the possible reason for this doesn’t come out until later.

I like the author’s realistic portrayal of blindness. Mrs. Gutermann instructs Raymond to put items in her apartment back where he found them. She uses her white cane when out walking with him.

I also recommend this book for its accurate depiction of racism in today’s society. Despite downfall caused by such prejudice, the ending will leave you feeling good.

***

For those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

***

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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Memoir Delivers Powerful Life Messages #Friday Fun Reads

Stand Up or Sit Out: Memories and Musings of a Blind Wrestler, Runner and All-around Regular Guy

by Anthony R. Candela

Copyright 2020

What Amazon Says

In this memoir, Anthony Candela, a self-described “all-around regular guy,” traverses a lifetime of challenges. Some of these are accidents of birth, like his poor eyesight and slow trek to blindness, and some are of his own making, like choosing to compete as a scholar-athlete. Infused with lots of New Yorkana, a touch of California, and a few related historical references, this memoir conveys that in any environment, life does not always follow a prescribed course. Moreover, as humans, all of us are imperfect. This includes people with disabilities who are often thought of as transcendent beings, but who should also be regarded as “all-around regular guys.” Just like the rest of the human race, they often strive imperfectly to get through life.

In his descriptions, the author hopes that readers will understand a little more about the nuts and bolts of running and wrestling, not to mention skiing and scuba diving. The ups and downs of coping with life and progressive loss of eyesight and, by extraction, disability in general will be clearer. Readers will come away with a fuller appreciation of the ways people deal with challenges. In the end, we all have a choice whether to stand up or sit out.

The story related in these pages will occasionally give you cause to chuckle or even shed tears of sadness or joy. Above all else, it will enlighten you about why things happen the way they do. Ultimately, this memoir increases our understanding of what it means to be truly human. Perhaps after reading it, we will be kinder and gentler to each other. Most important, perhaps we will take it a little easier on ourselves.

 

My Thoughts

 

I took an interest in this book when the author was a guest speaker at a recent meeting of Behind Our Eyes, a group of disabled writers to which I belong. My late husband Bill was on the Colorado State School for the Deaf and Blind’s wrestling team in the 1950’s. So, naturally, I found Mr. Candela’s experiences with the sport fascinating. I also enjoyed reading about his adventures in running, cycling, and other sports as well as his academic and social life. I appreciated his insights on human relations and disabilities. Anyone who reads this book, able-bodied or not, will learn from his discoveries.

***

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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Website  Image contains: Abbie, smiling.