The old adage applies: “Be careful what you wish for”.
Emma Mayweather is tormented on a daily basis by Rachel Conniver, the school bully. And for what? Stupid things, of course, like not wearing what other girls wear or not having her hair in a particular style. Instead of making waves, though, Emma simply avoids Rachel, preferring to spend her free time in the company of the school’s water heater in a largely-unused room at school. To her, the quiet and shadows are a comfort. In her words, “I feel safe in the shadows, with only the dust bunnies and a few occasional spiders as company. Spiders might be scary and ugly, but (they) don’t bully me…”
Unfortunately for Emma, the cocoon she has built around herself is about to be shattered. Rachel has cooked up the ultimate torment, one that is displayed before most of the school…and on cellphone screens everywhere. Forced to witness this display, Emma collapses in despair and humiliation.
After a night of hoping and wishing never to see what she witnessed ever again, or the smirks on the faces of her schoolmates, Emma gets her wish–she wakes up unable to see at all.
Thus begins a journey–one that leads her to discover her own strengths, and to be able to see, without her eyes, just what is important and what isn’t. The people she has known for so long surprise her, as her images of them are shattered and she finds that there is more love out there than she ever knew possible.
This book still gives me goosebumps as I write this review. What surprised–and pleased–me the most is just how the best in people can come out in times like this. The least surprising is that it actually happened. Having been a victim of bullying myself, the trauma and terrorizing of the quiet and out-of-the-ordinary types was something I could readily relate to.
And, yes, the book is a true story–embellished in places, as noted by the author.
Emma was, of course, my favorite character, but not because I saw my own high school life reflected in her. I loved her because of her generous heart and her forgiving attitude. The dedication at the beginning of the book sums Emma’s attitude up nicely:
This is dedicated to the bullies…I didn’t let you beat me.
Another thing I should mention: Portions of the proceeds of the sales from this book are donated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, and to The New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
PS: This book is best read by people aged 16 and up, as per the author.