Book Review Of Planet Of The Blind

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade November 2001

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Planet of the BlindStephen Kuusisto is a true poet. His tale of his journey through a darkened world, is told in words that are not just written, they are painted onto the canvas that is his book. I started off full of pity for Kuusisto. He made me sad for the life that he led. I found the image of him trying to read tragic. With his descriptions, I could just picture him leaning 2 inches above a book, with one eye pointing the wrong direction, and the other jiggling back and forth in its socket. I think Kuusisto intentionally pressures the reader into feeling pity for the majority of his life story. He tries to draw you into seeing how he lived constantly in a state of despair. My heart would ache as I saw him make a fool of himself pretending to be sighted. Time an again I cried out "Just tell people! They will still love you!!!" For some reason I couldn't understand why he wouldn't let people in.

Since I had such a hard time understanding it gave me a new sense of what people with disabilities go through. Their thinking must be so different from mine that I can not even imagine.

As Kuusisto travels from locale to locale, acting always as a sighted person, one begins to see the emotional transformation that he goes through. There is a seedling that begins to grow in his mind as he grows older and more mature. Kuusisto begins to see that life has more for him than he is taking out of it. He yearns for greater meaning and an overall greater mobility to his life. He is tired of almost getting hit by traffic as he misjudges the flow of it. Finally Kuusisto realizes its time for a change. After sitting up all night literally pulling hair out his body, he makes the decision to get a guide dog. This would change the horizons of his life permanently. No longer would he not have a pair of working eyes. At this point I found myself really getting excited. No longer did I pity Kuusisto, I was excited that he was finally going to change his life in the way I had been hoping for all along. I believe all this is intentional. Everything I felt, I felt because of Kuusisto's masterful approach to the English language.

On an interesting side note, to me at least, I also found the struggle Kuusisto had with a belief system interesting. He seemed quasi-Christian, but naturally seemed confused as to why God would put him in these circumstances. Periodically through the narrative he would illustrate some thought he had about his faith and the role it was playing in his life.

Over all this was a poignant picture. This was some of the most superb writing I have ever read, an Kuusisto's language is just magnificent. Literally for almost the entire story, you could argue that it was poetry. Overall a very touching narrative of a different view of life.