17 August, 2015

#BookReview :: Girl in the Dark by Anna Lyndsey

Anna was living a normal life. She was ambitious and worked hard; she had just bought an apartment; she was falling in love. But then she started to develop worrying symptoms: her face felt like it was burning whenever she was in front of the computer. Soon this progressed to an intolerance of fluorescent light, then of sunlight itself. The reaction soon spread to her entire body. Now, when her symptoms are at their worst, she must spend months on end in a blacked-out room, losing herself in audio books and elaborate word games in an attempt to ward off despair. During periods of relative remission she can venture cautiously out at dawn and dusk, into a world that, from the perspective of her normally cloistered existence, is filled with remarkable beauty.

And throughout there is her relationship with Pete. In many ways he is Anna’s savior, offering her shelter from the light in his home. But she cannot enjoy a normal life with him, cannot go out in the day, and even making love is uniquely awkward. Anna asks herself “By continuing to occupy this lovely man while giving him neither children nor a public companion nor a welcoming home—do I do wrong?” With gorgeous, lyrical prose, Anna brings us into the dark with her, a place from which we emerge to see love, and the world, anew.

As you all know, I usually do not read non-fiction. But something about this story really attracted me to it. And it was such an experience to read through the book.

Anna was living a life that many people dream of and could even be called a normal life. She had a job that she worked hard at, a home that she dreamed of and even a boyfriend she might be falling for. But then what started as a skin irritation to the exposure of computer and florescent light soon took over her life as it progressed continuously. So much so that she moved into her boyfriend’s home, covered every window with heavy curtains and lived in perpetual darkness at all times. At the most, she could venture out at night with Pete, that too after curtaining the back seat of his car.

It is such a heart touching story. I have often wondered how the world must feel to a blind pers. No be able to hear birds but not see them, to smell flowers but nor see them… but this feels worse. To know there is so much that the world has to offer, yet not being able to enjoy them. I came to admire the author for her grit. It would have been so easy to just give up and live in despair or even give up life. Also, this is not just a story about one person’s struggles. It is also a love story and story about Pete’s dedication and constant support. The book is a memoir and it does feel so real - the agony, the struggles, the love… The author has done a beautiful job of capturing all her emotions, which were even funny at times, and then bring them to life through these pages. The striking language compliments the story and helps elevate it to another level on the whole.

This is not an easy book to read and I couldn’t bring myself to read it at a single go. I would put it down after a few chapters, but I always picked it up for more.

Review Copy received from Bloomsbury India

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