“Friday Read” – 22nd July 2011

The Most Inspiring Book You’ve Read

Ryan Knighton – Cockeyed

This is a book I read about three years ago, and I am not surprised if nobody reading this has actually heard of it.  I decided to read it after hearing the author interviewed by Simon Mayo on the radio and his attitude and humour won me over and I went pretty much straight onto Amazon to order myself a copy.

It is the story of how Canadian Ryan Knighton lost his sight in his early 20s due to a rare eye condition, and how he has coped with this and the challenges of living as a blind person.  However, it is not a book you will find in those “Tragic Life Stories” sections that seem to have worryingly appeared in so many bookshops lately.  Rather than wallowing or dwelling on the negative aspects, Knighton adopts a humorous, anecdote-based approach, which makes the book extremely readable, but without descending into a parody of the “my tough life” genre.  His spirit, determination and optimistic outlook shine through, even when he deals with the tough adjustments and sacrifices he has had to make.

I think anyone would probably find some inspiration in Knighton’s book, but it strikes a chord with me for one reason in particular.  I suffer from quite aggressive glaucoma (at a very young age, as the doctors and nurses keep on “helpfully” reminding me) and, while surgery, constant medication and monitoring are managing the condition relatively well right now, I know there is always a chance it could get worse and I could lose some or even most of my sight prematurely.  From time to time, this gets me down and sometimes before a hospital appointment I start running through worst-case scenarios in my mind.  When I find myself doing that, I remind myself of Ryan Knighton’s “Cockeyed”, a shining example that – even if the worst should ever happen – loss of sight need not be an insurmountable obstacle.

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