Aged seven, Parker Grant was involved in a car crash. Her mother died. Parker lost her sight. Nine years later she is a high school junior. A few months earlier her father has died, possibly from a cardiac event or possibly (as Parker suspects) by his own hand. Her aunt, her uncle and her two cousins have moved in with her. Of the cousins Petey is a boy aged eight and Sheila about Parker’s age.
Scott Francis Kilpatrick is a friend of Parker’s at school. He was her boyfriend but he violated her trust in a way not initially divulged to the reader, but serious enough to split them. Emotional waves are buffeting Parker from different directions. How will she cope, at the same time negotiating her sightless life?
The novel hinges on Parker’s personality. She is determined and courageous but sometimes obstinate and aggressive. She has the kind of determination and single mindedness that a disabled person needs if she is to survive. For any disabled readers, Parker’s journey through life strikes many familiar notes. One day Parker decides to walk home from school, using her cane. She gets lost and in her frustration breaks the cane. Of course she has no spare.
My misgivings about this novel are twofold. First, the relationship between Parker and Scott looms too large, obscuring other equally significant issues. The reader tires of their uncertainty. She should forgive him and start again or dump him for good. Lindstrom also strikes a false note describing how Parker is taught. In a trigonometry lesson Parker has to have a diagram explained to her by a fellow-pupil who is not even her regular classroom partner. Surely Parker would have a Learning Support Assistant who would have prepared a Braille version of the diagram in readiness for the lesson? The plot development here rests on an improbable weakness in the pedagogical method.
Lindstrom is attempting a task beyond the ambition of many writers. He achieves an almost total success.