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"Talent shines on every page of this feisty, bittersweet memoir."   -ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, Grade: A

The Courier Mail; Date: 2007 March 23; Section: Entertainment

What Makes Australia Grate •
reviewed by IAN BARRY

HOW many of the things that you do depend on your sight? How many words, in any language you can name, are concerned with vision and light? Words referring to sight are built in and integral to the way we give meaning to the world. Consider then how different your life would be if you gradually lost your sight to the point of total blindness.

Ryan Knighton has first-hand experience of slow and inevitable sight deterioration and has written a book on his life which gives us access to the world of the visually disadvantaged. He would say blind.

As far back as he could remember, Ryan was always the clumsy kid. Growing up in Langley, British Columbia, Canada, with his parents and siblings, he had a normal enough childhood, occasionally punctuated by inexplicable gaps in his interactions with the world.

When his doctor diagnosed retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative and untreatable eye disease, on the day of his 18th birthday, many episodes in his life suddenly became understandable – the strange things that happened on his childhood paper route; the inexplicable accidents at his first job; his woeful driving record and those disappearing trousers, among many other things.

As Knighton himself says, it is difficult to not use words like "hindsight" in a situation like his.

Fortunately, he was also blessed with a love of words and a scrupulous honesty. This book is a rigorous self-examination by a man undergoing a reluctant transformation, written by someone who understands how to tell a story. It is as honest an account of a modern life, with all its joys and tragedies, humour, foibles and insights, as you are likely to find.

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