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Blind Man's Bluff: A Memoir

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At age sixteen, James Tate Hill was diagnosed with Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy, a condition that left him legally blind. When high-school friends stopped calling and a disability counselor advised him to aim for C’s in his classes, he tried to escape the stigma by pretending he could still see. In this unfailingly candid yet humorous memoir, Hill discloses the trick At age sixteen, James Tate Hill was diagnosed with Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy, a condition that left him legally blind. When high-school friends stopped calling and a disability counselor advised him to aim for C’s in his classes, he tried to escape the stigma by pretending he could still see. In this unfailingly candid yet humorous memoir, Hill discloses the tricks he employed to pass for sighted, from displaying shelves of paperbacks he read on tape to arriving early on first dates so women would have to find him. He risked his life every time he crossed a street, doing his best to listen for approaching cars. A good memory and pop culture obsessions like Tom Cruise, Prince, and all things 1980s allowed him to steer conversations toward common experiences. For fifteen years, Hill hid his blindness from friends, colleagues, and lovers, even convincing himself that if he stared long enough, his blurry peripheral vision would bring the world into focus. At thirty, faced with a stalled writing career, a crumbling marriage, and a growing fear of leaving his apartment, he began to wonder if there was a better way.


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At age sixteen, James Tate Hill was diagnosed with Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy, a condition that left him legally blind. When high-school friends stopped calling and a disability counselor advised him to aim for C’s in his classes, he tried to escape the stigma by pretending he could still see. In this unfailingly candid yet humorous memoir, Hill discloses the trick At age sixteen, James Tate Hill was diagnosed with Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy, a condition that left him legally blind. When high-school friends stopped calling and a disability counselor advised him to aim for C’s in his classes, he tried to escape the stigma by pretending he could still see. In this unfailingly candid yet humorous memoir, Hill discloses the tricks he employed to pass for sighted, from displaying shelves of paperbacks he read on tape to arriving early on first dates so women would have to find him. He risked his life every time he crossed a street, doing his best to listen for approaching cars. A good memory and pop culture obsessions like Tom Cruise, Prince, and all things 1980s allowed him to steer conversations toward common experiences. For fifteen years, Hill hid his blindness from friends, colleagues, and lovers, even convincing himself that if he stared long enough, his blurry peripheral vision would bring the world into focus. At thirty, faced with a stalled writing career, a crumbling marriage, and a growing fear of leaving his apartment, he began to wonder if there was a better way.

30 review for Blind Man's Bluff: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn in FL

    5 AMAZING BRIGHT SHINING STARS I always experience trepidation when I initiate a request for a Goodreads Giveaway, particularly in the memoir category. I feel conflicted about disliking someone's account of their life experiences. What if I find it boring? What if I don't like the individual or their choices? What if I feel a moral conflict with their actions or thoughts? Thus, I avoid some that may in fact be very interesting stories. This autobiography is not one of those! When I saw that the f 5 AMAZING BRIGHT SHINING STARS I always experience trepidation when I initiate a request for a Goodreads Giveaway, particularly in the memoir category. I feel conflicted about disliking someone's account of their life experiences. What if I find it boring? What if I don't like the individual or their choices? What if I feel a moral conflict with their actions or thoughts? Thus, I avoid some that may in fact be very interesting stories. This autobiography is not one of those! When I saw that the focus of the memoir dealt with James Tate Hill's challenges resulting from being legally blind and navigating school and career, I was fully committed. Hill is very honest in his account which both delivered insight into the life of those physically challenged. A personal note, I am handicapped after a number of severe auto accidents (not my fault) caused irreversible damage to my spine and major joints. I've had a few surgeries with limited success, far less than I was led to believe would result. I now function on a limited basis with the help of monthly visits to the pain doctor. More recently, the last car accident left me with a traumatic brain injury, further removing my activities options and enjoyment of tasks from which I derived pleasure. It is a life, I never expected having always enjoyed a diverse number of cerebral and physical activities and a challenging career which I had enjoyed. What hurt most, the barrier my challenges created with those I was close to. Many people didn't like the fact that I could not longer participate in activities we had once shared. Furthermore, romantic interests didn't find my new, quiet life something of interest, particularly due to the prognosis of increased physical challenges in the future. Thus, Hill, who fears these very things as well, works to make his challenges seem insignificant and understates them. Hill reveals his deep, personal struggles from the age of sixteen when his vision quickly fades as it impacts his social life, his adaptations to learning differently and his career options. His living situation reveal added challenges to which he must adapt but even more daunting for him are his dating life challenges. In a world of flirtation filled with facial and body language cues, how can he ascertain a woman's interest in him? When and to what degree should he share things about himself, such as the inability to drive or even navigate areas other than the campus alone? We travel with him as he tries a variety of ways to cover his inabilities. His overcompensation in relationships, so that his negatives are overshadowed by his upbeat responses to them. We also follow him, as he examines his feelings of being disingenuous. Is he a fraud? Could he have done things different and managed to keep several relationships from disintegrating? One gets the sense even in the retelling that the worst of what took place is not revealed. That these parts remain to painful. They are hidden and to tender to expose publicly. I understand, oh, yes, I do. Hill's experience brings about catharsis to his readers, who have had some form of medical challenge. In one relationship, when his partner becomes ill, he hopes that the person will develop more empathy toward him (there is a certain 5 letter word that he never uses to describe her) but instead the individual choses to terminate their connection. Don't get me wrong, this was not a depressing story, not at all. Despite revealing his deepest fears, Hill manages to convey things without self-pity. Hill has had a brilliant career and is a published author within the short-story and novel genres. He is also an academic. He is creative, humorous and a terrific storyteller. This was a story that I thought about when I couldn't sit down to read it. My review is my takeaway from the eyes of someone, who faces disability every moment as does he. The challenge is focusing on what I can do, not what I no longer can not. Hill has embodied that in his account and he fully comes to acceptance 14 years later, when he realizes that his denial doesn't change the circumstances. I read a review on this site, where a reader naively asks why he makes such a big deal about hiding his handicap. Hill addresses this a number of times and it isn't just one reason. Some people will dismiss you because of how your challenge impacts them (I've definitely experienced this, too). Others may treat you differently and even treat you as mentally deficient as well (check). Others may be uncomfortable with your challenge (um hmm). And there will be a few that will treat you like you still have value as a person and adjust their expectations when needed (in Hill's case, they will drive you to a restaurant for dinner and read the menu without making a big deal of it), refreshing and uncommon. Perhaps, that reviewer doesn't see disability as a problem but in this real world, a large number people are often seeking self-gratification and have little interest in being there for others. This isn't just my personal experience, either. I've seen this repeatedly as I walked the road with three different close friends, who died quite young from cancer (34, 32 and 52). My closest friend, that I met in a support group, was always thanking me when she asked if she could remove her head covering (she had lost all her hair before we met). I was always hurt by her comment of appreciation because of what this conveyed. Her needs were often overlooked to make others comfortable. This sweet, kind and funny woman told me that all but one friend, a former co-worker had abandoned her. Janice was one of the dearest persons in my life and one of the most loving I've ever met. She suffered horribly but I believe that pain of being tossed aside and forgotten hurt just as much as the cancer that ate away at her. Thank you James for sharing your story. You are brave. You have overcome not only the physical issues you've suffered but also the social construct which imprisoned you for so long. I believe the world is a better place with your experiences having been shared. I am grateful to Goodreads, the Publisher and the author, James Tate Hill for providing me the opportunity to read this story in exchange for my honest opinion. This book is now on sale.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Ford

    James Tate Hill made me cheat on my #TBR pile to read his splendid memoir Blind Man’s Bluff. While the fact James is funnier than I am is unforgivable, it’s such a pleasure sharing a literary world with him. He drops the emotional hammer a few times, but there’s an optimism and musicality to James’ words that will revive your faith in humanity more than question it. I’m a huge fan of his fiction work (Academy Gothic is equally terrific), but I wouldn’t complain reading another essay collection f James Tate Hill made me cheat on my #TBR pile to read his splendid memoir Blind Man’s Bluff. While the fact James is funnier than I am is unforgivable, it’s such a pleasure sharing a literary world with him. He drops the emotional hammer a few times, but there’s an optimism and musicality to James’ words that will revive your faith in humanity more than question it. I’m a huge fan of his fiction work (Academy Gothic is equally terrific), but I wouldn’t complain reading another essay collection from Mr. Hill.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sandie

    The fact that I sometimes missed the logical progression from one sentence to the next in a paragraph seemed to keep me moving forward to try to figure it out. Purposeful on the authors part or just my lack is the question. His story seems to be entwined with all of his relationships which highlights the idea that we are sometimes defined by those around us. This seemed especially true for the author as his vision loss occurred when he was a teen and trying to blend into his peer group. I lost t The fact that I sometimes missed the logical progression from one sentence to the next in a paragraph seemed to keep me moving forward to try to figure it out. Purposeful on the authors part or just my lack is the question. His story seems to be entwined with all of his relationships which highlights the idea that we are sometimes defined by those around us. This seemed especially true for the author as his vision loss occurred when he was a teen and trying to blend into his peer group. I lost track of all the women in his life but grimaced at his struggles as he tried to find a life partner (and/or caretaker).

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I am an eye doctor so was excited to read this. I especially enjoyed reading about the author’s experience being tested, and then receiving his diagnosis. I was disappointed JT refused to accept, acknowledge, and move forward with his disability. The book was well written, easy to read. I hope JT will write another memoir about accepting his disability.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Interesting and readable. It feels uncomfortable to read about someone getting so far into their adulthood and still being embarrassed by something there's no reason to be embarrassed by, but it can be good to get that perspective I guess. Interesting and readable. It feels uncomfortable to read about someone getting so far into their adulthood and still being embarrassed by something there's no reason to be embarrassed by, but it can be good to get that perspective I guess.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    3.5 stars but I can't round it up because he still seems to have/give others almost no verbal clues to his real condition. He's brave, outstandingly intelligent and funny- and especially patient too. And he can write- failed novels or not. It is just so incredibly sad that he has to be so little able to get others to understand the cognition and sense input he actually owns. It makes it so DIFFICULT for himself in mobility and also in relationships. If you have a strong onus for not asking for he 3.5 stars but I can't round it up because he still seems to have/give others almost no verbal clues to his real condition. He's brave, outstandingly intelligent and funny- and especially patient too. And he can write- failed novels or not. It is just so incredibly sad that he has to be so little able to get others to understand the cognition and sense input he actually owns. It makes it so DIFFICULT for himself in mobility and also in relationships. If you have a strong onus for not asking for help (oh many of us do) in situations where you will absolutely require it? That's a conundrum. Knowing someone else who lost their sight after childhood, I think that their cognition for the world's "look" and connections as a whole make it maybe MORE difficult to interact than those who are blind from birth. Maybe not? He is incredibly brave to have continued with so many different living arrangements especially. No frail parent home dweller he. I wish him luck in all departments and a fervent wish that he can just come out with a declaration now and again that he NEEDS some assistant or equipment or arrangement for fun- so that he is not so limited in everyday choices. Lastly, I have thought about that store product choice angle endless times myself. How to describe what you want, how it is wrapped etc. -and why? When you don't even know what is available! Kind of like the opposite of the lifelong 30 year old Cuban in an American Target or Walmart that I have viewed- only worse. Both of them end up in tears. Oh no, one more thing. This gets 5 stars for one of the best audio descriptions I ever read. The one about the frog croak bottom to the high notes of the Chipmunks after a cocaine/meth hit. Those speed machines used to get me aggravated too. But it's a perfect description.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    I have been anticipating James Tate Hill's memoir for years, ever since I first read essays that would become pieces of Blind Man's Bluff. (A special favorite: "Everything You’ve Never Tasted in Taco Bell," published in the museum of americana's issue 15.) My wait is over, and I'm not disappointed. Hill's memoir opens in the middle of the end of a marriage in which his wife tells him "that a blind man could not make her happy." As a teen, Hill was diagnosed with Leber's hereditary optic neuropat I have been anticipating James Tate Hill's memoir for years, ever since I first read essays that would become pieces of Blind Man's Bluff. (A special favorite: "Everything You’ve Never Tasted in Taco Bell," published in the museum of americana's issue 15.) My wait is over, and I'm not disappointed. Hill's memoir opens in the middle of the end of a marriage in which his wife tells him "that a blind man could not make her happy." As a teen, Hill was diagnosed with Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy, which would leave him legally blind, but with an impairment that would allow him, if he looked up or to the side, to see something. It would allow him to eke by, passing for sighted. And it would prevent him from coming to terms with his blindness. Hill writes about this coming-to-terms journey, including ups and downs in relationships, as well as frustrations and triumphs as a writer. To great effect, he directs attention by switching tenses and points of view. The two most effective essays in the memoir are written in second person, involving you in his mindset, his rationale. You can't help but "see" him. This memoir is indeed a triumph, a culmination of years of reflection and revision, terms whose irony has not been lost on the sight-impaired author. [Thanks to W.W. Norton & Company and NetGalley for an opportunity to read an e-ARC of this book in exchange for my opinion.]

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tucker

    An intimate story of navigating university life while visually impaired. Accommodations were, as unfortunately they often are, sporadic and inadequate. What makes Hill's story so affecting is that he was reluctant to communicate his disability to anyone at all, preferring to behave as if he could see. He often hoped that others would supply the information he needed in an organic way without categorizing him as disabled. This dissimulation was a strain on relationships as well as on himself. Thus An intimate story of navigating university life while visually impaired. Accommodations were, as unfortunately they often are, sporadic and inadequate. What makes Hill's story so affecting is that he was reluctant to communicate his disability to anyone at all, preferring to behave as if he could see. He often hoped that others would supply the information he needed in an organic way without categorizing him as disabled. This dissimulation was a strain on relationships as well as on himself. Thus, Blind Man's Bluff is a memoir of divorce and of learning self-acceptance. In a carefully detailed way, Hill generously brings us into the world as he maps and experiences it. Perhaps because he didn't grant legitimacy to his own pain — "all I had ever lost was my sight" — he was out of touch with his own grief and frustration. A big lesson: "Asking for help means I will never be independent, but how many of us truly are?" None of us.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    I loved this memoir. The author’s voice is so engaging and funny and heartbreakingly vulnerable as he takes you through his two decades of doing everything in his power to avoid appearing vulnerable. I highly recommend.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Long

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review. The cover of this book and the title immediately pulled me in. I am legally blind too and I can really relate to a lot of what the author talks about. From navigating streets and sidewalks to not eating food at a party for fear of mishandling food, to not being able to read menus. He describes his struggles with trying to act like he's a fully sighted person. I admire him for his courage to write th Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review. The cover of this book and the title immediately pulled me in. I am legally blind too and I can really relate to a lot of what the author talks about. From navigating streets and sidewalks to not eating food at a party for fear of mishandling food, to not being able to read menus. He describes his struggles with trying to act like he's a fully sighted person. I admire him for his courage to write this book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    R.M. Kinder

    Straightforwardness is a real strength in Blind Man’s Bluff, James Tate Hill’s memoir. The nature he describes matches what the prose consistently reveals. He’s intelligent, persistent, has a wry sense of humor, is willing to look at himself critically and not to beg off for anything or promise to change. His is a most winning voice and his memoir is riveting. At sixteen he began to lose his sight, a condition that progressed rapidly till he had peripheral vision only. For the next ten years, p Straightforwardness is a real strength in Blind Man’s Bluff, James Tate Hill’s memoir. The nature he describes matches what the prose consistently reveals. He’s intelligent, persistent, has a wry sense of humor, is willing to look at himself critically and not to beg off for anything or promise to change. His is a most winning voice and his memoir is riveting. At sixteen he began to lose his sight, a condition that progressed rapidly till he had peripheral vision only. For the next ten years, pursuing advanced degrees, meaningful relationships, and simple safety and joy in life, he refused to consider himself disabled and worked relentlessly to keep others from knowing what he could not see. The key message about facing and dealing with a disability is valuable to any reader and beautifully presented: The writing is superb—Tate’s prose is lucid and quick, the events clean, balanced, never overplayed, and the work is filled with humor. A great read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Blind Man's Bluff is James Tate Hill's aptly named memoir about losing his vision as a teenager and the resulting years in which he attempts to hide his vision loss, especially from strangers. While this could have been a sad story, Hill is full of self-effacing humor and dry wit that make this an enjoyable read. While his farce in hiding his vision loss may sound strange at first, Hill felt like an awkward teenager upon I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Blind Man's Bluff is James Tate Hill's aptly named memoir about losing his vision as a teenager and the resulting years in which he attempts to hide his vision loss, especially from strangers. While this could have been a sad story, Hill is full of self-effacing humor and dry wit that make this an enjoyable read. While his farce in hiding his vision loss may sound strange at first, Hill felt like an awkward teenager upon losing his sight - old enough to know life with vision, but not old enough to feel confident in his new state as a vision impaired person. The story follows him full circle from diagnosis to acceptance and all of the phases in between, as well as the effects this had on his personal life, including a troubled marriage. There were aspects of his life that he breezes past, where I found myself wanting more, but all in all, an interesting and honest memoir.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Vision is the most important of our five senses, isn’t it? Yet when James Tate Hill lost his vision as a teenager, he tried to rely on his other senses so he could continue to live as a sighted person would. He did not prefer to be labeled with a blind disability, and consequently used his many problem solving skills to avoid the issue during his years after high school. Perhaps that is admirable, but his strategy for life created problems. He fell off the stage when he collected his college dip Vision is the most important of our five senses, isn’t it? Yet when James Tate Hill lost his vision as a teenager, he tried to rely on his other senses so he could continue to live as a sighted person would. He did not prefer to be labeled with a blind disability, and consequently used his many problem solving skills to avoid the issue during his years after high school. Perhaps that is admirable, but his strategy for life created problems. He fell off the stage when he collected his college diploma and walked into traffic while trekking to work in graduate school. Thank goodness for modern technology, so James Tate Hill could help himself with digital books, writing and music. This man speaks out of both sides of his mouth, especially when addressing his friends. He wants help from his friends but he just cannot admit that he needs total assistance with his blindness. Sometimes in life, it’s difficult to find a happy medium.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mayda

    I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir, both for its pathos and humor. James Tate Hill spent many years trying to conceal his disability from nearly everyone. He avoided situations where his lack of vision would be obvious. He endangered his life by crossing streets unaided. Besides his parents, only a very few close friends knew of his legal blindness. He developed all sorts of tricks to hide his disability, and where they wouldn’t work, he just avoided social situations. Eventually though, he came t I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir, both for its pathos and humor. James Tate Hill spent many years trying to conceal his disability from nearly everyone. He avoided situations where his lack of vision would be obvious. He endangered his life by crossing streets unaided. Besides his parents, only a very few close friends knew of his legal blindness. He developed all sorts of tricks to hide his disability, and where they wouldn’t work, he just avoided social situations. Eventually though, he came to terms with his vision loss. In this touching memoir, he talks about his failures and successes as a writer, about his relationships dating women and marrying, only to be served with divorce papers when she couldn’t cope with his blindness. Hill’s perseverance to overcome his disability and to succeed in all aspects of life, and to find fulfillment in his career and in his personal life, is awe-inspiring.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rita

    I seldom read memoirs because I always fear they will be irritatingly self-serving. I would not say that about this memoir. I found it a readable, engaging and quick read. Although it gave me some insight into the author's feelings, I lost respect for him as an adult. I have worked with young people with many kinds of disabilities for many years, and I recognize that most people, especially teenagers do not want to feel any different than their peers. Obviously, the author epitomized that feelin I seldom read memoirs because I always fear they will be irritatingly self-serving. I would not say that about this memoir. I found it a readable, engaging and quick read. Although it gave me some insight into the author's feelings, I lost respect for him as an adult. I have worked with young people with many kinds of disabilities for many years, and I recognize that most people, especially teenagers do not want to feel any different than their peers. Obviously, the author epitomized that feeling, even to the point of putting himself in physical danger when crossing streets where he was unable to see whether or not there were cars approaching. I would say that I was both appalled and dismayed to find that he carried this dangerous denial into adulthood and I understand Meredith's frustration with it. He did accomplish a great deal by sheer determination but did it really give him the life he wanted? He wanted to blend in but an outsiders quickly saw or sensed his difference. If they did not actually know about his blind condition, then, they seemed to find him just odd and they avoided him. He seemed to acknowledge this in one way but refused to see the real remedies despite the fact that he recognized how technology could help him. He did mention his parents' initial support but I would have been interested in hearing more about this. Did they ever really realize how impacted he was by his lack of vision. He does not mention any counseling regarding his blindness. I wonder why that never happened. At the end, I felt pity for him. It appears this is what he was trying so hand to avoid. Note: since writing this review, I have read an interview with Hill which allays my concerns. He now admits he is blind and disabled and sees this as liberating. This would probably be a good book to share with young disabled people who are struggling with their identity though it needs to be done with guidance and mentoring.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Christie Bane

    This audiobook took me two long workouts to finish — one run and one ride. I read it for two reasons: 1) I had the author as an instructor for a writing course I took, and 2) I know the subject matter well (living with vision loss). I’m not visually impaired, but I’ve been working with people who are for my whole adult life. This book is the memoir of growing up with vision loss and hiding it. Also a subject I know well. The story of this author’s relationship with his first wife was so close to This audiobook took me two long workouts to finish — one run and one ride. I read it for two reasons: 1) I had the author as an instructor for a writing course I took, and 2) I know the subject matter well (living with vision loss). I’m not visually impaired, but I’ve been working with people who are for my whole adult life. This book is the memoir of growing up with vision loss and hiding it. Also a subject I know well. The story of this author’s relationship with his first wife was so close to the story of my long-ago relationship with a visually impaired boyfriend that it sort of made me cringe, while also bringing me back to that situation so perfectly that I knew it was authentic. Overall this was an honest, open, and engaging look into the process of accepting and becoming yourself.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    To me, a disappointment. The inside flap describes it as "candid yet humorous." Candid it is. Humorous, not so much. I picked this book to review since I have vision "issues" and thought I'd see some parallels. Hill becomes legally blind at 16, but doesn't want anyone to know. His explanation for much of his life is "vision issues" which doesn't begin to cover his issues. Most of those issues have to do with his inability to develop meaningful relationships, especially with the opposite sex. He e To me, a disappointment. The inside flap describes it as "candid yet humorous." Candid it is. Humorous, not so much. I picked this book to review since I have vision "issues" and thought I'd see some parallels. Hill becomes legally blind at 16, but doesn't want anyone to know. His explanation for much of his life is "vision issues" which doesn't begin to cover his issues. Most of those issues have to do with his inability to develop meaningful relationships, especially with the opposite sex. He explains this as "not being able to see the physical cues" others would be displaying. The man managed to earn 3 Master's degrees, yet seems to zone in what he can't do because he won't share that he can't see.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Meagan Lucas

    Frank and funny. Warm and wise. Highly recommend.

  19. 5 out of 5

    N. Moss

    smart, funny, self-effacing, well-written

  20. 4 out of 5

    Hattie

    I found this rather pretentious. The exteeeeeensive and ineffective use of second person, several times for several whole chapters, served not to enable me to put myself in his shoes (since he categorically does not share his emotional experiences) but rather backfired, with each sentence punctuated by a mental “uh, no I do not, uh no that’s not the choice I would make, no that’s now how I would respond, oh my word please just own your actions instead of acting like I would do this too.” Second I found this rather pretentious. The exteeeeeensive and ineffective use of second person, several times for several whole chapters, served not to enable me to put myself in his shoes (since he categorically does not share his emotional experiences) but rather backfired, with each sentence punctuated by a mental “uh, no I do not, uh no that’s not the choice I would make, no that’s now how I would respond, oh my word please just own your actions instead of acting like I would do this too.” Second person to describe actions is just… lazy. I found it frustrating at first that while the draw to this book is about life with bad eyes (his preferred phrase), most of his struggles are about emotional immaturity, insecurities, failed relationships. In the end, I suppose the other is just like all the rest of us, fumbling through life with whatever tools we have. Frustrating that this story, which could have been enlightening, was rather a defense of his inability to connect with people, which I suspect is due not to “inability to read nonverbal cues” and rather because of his inability to interact with honesty and vulnerability, a key part of meaningful relationships. Moreover—- did it bother anyone else that he won’t acknowledge the extent of his blindness to his friends, yet nurses wounds when they don’t willingly intuit his needs and continue to do so indefinitely without any admission from him that he appreciates it or needs it?? He’s very intelligent though and thrived in school despite vision difficulties (aka, blindness). Well done sir… good luck with the rest of your life.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kim Clarke

    James Tate Hill tells his story of losing his sight as a teenager and having to navigate high school, college and graduate school as a person with a disability. He is often his own worst enemy, rejecting any type of assistance or empathy. His writing style is a bit erratic. He shifts from first-person to second-person and it's unclear why. And there are rough segues that can make for confusion. But his personal journey will raise your understanding of people who face challenges with their vision James Tate Hill tells his story of losing his sight as a teenager and having to navigate high school, college and graduate school as a person with a disability. He is often his own worst enemy, rejecting any type of assistance or empathy. His writing style is a bit erratic. He shifts from first-person to second-person and it's unclear why. And there are rough segues that can make for confusion. But his personal journey will raise your understanding of people who face challenges with their vision. Thanks to BookBrowse for the advance copy to review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Kelley

    I will have a different review of this book then others by due to the fact I have been married for a long time who is visually impaired. The book in my opinion is well written but as i read this book i was extremely frustrated with author who of course is the main character. With his desire to hide from everyone the fact that he was visually impaired. While I understand that no one wants to be dependent on another person and you do not want people to treat you different just because you are diff I will have a different review of this book then others by due to the fact I have been married for a long time who is visually impaired. The book in my opinion is well written but as i read this book i was extremely frustrated with author who of course is the main character. With his desire to hide from everyone the fact that he was visually impaired. While I understand that no one wants to be dependent on another person and you do not want people to treat you different just because you are different it was frustrating to read and see how the author could have made his life a little bit better by being honest about his condition. I could not understand my there was such conflict with his significant other. I also was frustrated with Meredith who you will learn about when you read the book. I would rate this book 3.75 stars. Thank you to Edelweiss and W.W. Norton for a ARC for a fair and honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gina P.

    *adapted from my blog ginapersichini.com* I just finished my 2nd reading of this. Another book I decided to read because of the author. James Tate Hill is smart, sarcastic, and funny at the right times. The journey he writes about begins with losing much of his vision due to Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON) as a teenager. It continues through college, writing endeavors, jobs, and relationships. Throughout, he attempts to hide his blindness from others. It’s a long and frustrating road. Obv *adapted from my blog ginapersichini.com* I just finished my 2nd reading of this. Another book I decided to read because of the author. James Tate Hill is smart, sarcastic, and funny at the right times. The journey he writes about begins with losing much of his vision due to Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON) as a teenager. It continues through college, writing endeavors, jobs, and relationships. Throughout, he attempts to hide his blindness from others. It’s a long and frustrating road. Obviously, frustrating for him; but also frustrating as a reader. This is why you should read it. It speaks to his ability to tell the story like you are hearing it from your friend. And you may want to bop that friend upside the head and say, Dude, this isn’t working and you’re going to get hurt. He does such a great job demonstrating how demoralizing it can be to have to repeatedly remind others that your body is not able. I’m no expert on what does and does not count as an invisible disability, but I’d venture that it’s something the author and I share. I am hard of hearing. If you don’t know me well and don’t see my hearing aids, you probably don’t realize or even remember if you did know. I’ll ask you to repeat yourself if I don’t understand what you’ve said. Each time I have to ask, though, it gets harder. A lot of times, I’ll stop asking. Then, I’ll probably nod and smile as if I completely understood what you mumbled. It may come back to haunt me in the form of a committee assignment or task I didn’t want. Or, it may not. More likely, some people probably think I’m a jerk. It wears on a person, all the asking. Every time I have to ask someone to repeat what they just said. Every time I have to ask a speaker to use the damn microphone in front of them. Every emergency siren I don’t hear while driving. So, I get it. I get a person not wanting to declare for all the world, repeatedly, that he cannot see. Every menu. Every grocery store trip. Every street to be crossed. So, I’m grateful to J.T. Hill for sharing this piece of himself with the world. I saw little bits of myself, and, goodness knows, I need my own little bop upside the head from time to time. The thing I loved most about Hill’s writing, though, is that he’s real. He’s honest. And he’s going to make you do a double-take with his perfect word choices and pop culture knowledge. Woven throughout his story are references that tie his experiences to the reader’s understanding. It was like bumping into good friends while gaining some insight. I hope my librarian friends love his portrayal of the Talking Books services available to those who cannot read standard print. Hill writes candidly about Talking Books, their value, and the challenges where staffing/funding for supporting the service isn’t sufficient. He writes about wrestling with whether or not listening to a book is the same as reading it. [Spoiler alert: It’s the same thing!] Then, after considering how to defend his method of reading, concludes that “there is no defense quite like the feeling that you have nothing to defend.” Read Blind Man’s Bluff. Then, ask your library to buy a copy for the collection.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Star Gater

    A memoir is one of my top 3 genres. The takeaway from Blind Man's Bluff is that a rare hereditary optic neuropathy, Leber's, is both a disability (ADA guidelines) and not obviously apparent. Mr. Tate Hill spends the vast majority of this book telling endlessly how he was maneuvering life without acknowledging his sight disability. He touches angrily on the few people he was able to get close to, and their frustration with him. His memoir reads as if he was entitled for no reason. This is not a s A memoir is one of my top 3 genres. The takeaway from Blind Man's Bluff is that a rare hereditary optic neuropathy, Leber's, is both a disability (ADA guidelines) and not obviously apparent. Mr. Tate Hill spends the vast majority of this book telling endlessly how he was maneuvering life without acknowledging his sight disability. He touches angrily on the few people he was able to get close to, and their frustration with him. His memoir reads as if he was entitled for no reason. This is not a spoiler: In a grocery store he's angry at his friend for not naming every product in the aisle (cookies). I wanted to know during these situations if anyone asked him "What's wrong with you? Are you blind?" In my opinion, Mr. Tate Hill made the lives around him miserable, from an elderly landlord to ironically a wife. While being frustrated with him, for abusing my time, I did learn something that will change my life. (The reason I love Memoirs). While finally applying for disability (deserved) Mr. Tate Hill was sent for an eye exam. He writes how he felt the staff and doctor in the office was looking at him, as well as how he was treated; another faker. At this point, Mr. Tate Hill takes my breath away when he shares his fear. Can these doctors see or diagnose his rare disease? Frightening thought. My time was well spent, and how I document my personal records, as well as realizing the importance of using time carefully in any medical situation, I credit this memoir. I am also humbled by the fact I agreed to read and review a memoir, and not anywhere in print large or small was it stated I had to like the person or his story. One star deducted for unnecessary and trashy profanity. (In a nonfiction work such as this, space in Author Notes (a couple sentences) stating the foul language and horrid reference to God are used (my standard is an automatic 1 star rating and DNF.). This is a three star read if you can stay focused on the reactions of those around him, and ignore his selfishness when it came to complete strangers (walking across streets refusing a cane). There are lessons to be learned and shared. This was an audiobook from Netgalley for review. #Netgalley #BlindMansBluff #Memoir #Leber'sHereditaryOpticNeuropathy #DreanscapeMedia #NarratorCurtisArmstrong

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Hubbard

    **3.5 stars rounded up** I’d like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for so generously providing me a digital copy of Blind Man’s Bluff. All opinions are, of course, my own. I’m not really sure how I fully feel about this book. It kept my attention and I finished it rather quickly and I found Hill’s story interesting, and cringe-worthy at moments. However, the writing style was distracting and jarring at times. Hill switches back and forth between first and second person often and I’m unsure of t **3.5 stars rounded up** I’d like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for so generously providing me a digital copy of Blind Man’s Bluff. All opinions are, of course, my own. I’m not really sure how I fully feel about this book. It kept my attention and I finished it rather quickly and I found Hill’s story interesting, and cringe-worthy at moments. However, the writing style was distracting and jarring at times. Hill switches back and forth between first and second person often and I’m unsure of the reasoning for doing so but I did find It distracting at times. Also, the transitions were very jarring. We’d skip years (I think?) in just the next paragraph with no warning or explanation. I appreciate a book that that doesn’t include unnecessary information just for the sake of filling more pages but there were times I felt like we could have a little bit smoother transitions. On the other hand, I appreciated JT’s humor and his perseverance. I also have no idea and I’ll likely never understand what it’s like to be in his position so I applaud him for doing what needed to be done for his own well-being. I do hope he feels more accepted and able to accept his disability and not feel ashamed or like he has to cover it up. The friends that were great to him (mostly without being asked) were amazing. I grew rather frustrated with the girlfriends and others that. seemed annoyed with him for his vision impairment. I know this is only one side of the story but those were cringe-worthy moments. Overall, I’d recommend the read if you enjoy memoirs or stories about people “overcoming” things in their life. I liked it quite a bit but I didn’t fall in love with it either. I also really love the cover art concept.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    An enlightening and humorous story that touched my heart. I was curious how a blind person can cope in today's rushed life. Especially when you can't drive. Also I have a personal interest, my 87 yr old mother went suddenly blind in her middle 70's and I wondered why she did some of the things she did. Unlike JT, she gave up, and prefers to be taken care of. Wish I had this book 10 years ago. Anyhow, you are truly an amazing man for all you have accomplished. Luckily you had some sight but the r An enlightening and humorous story that touched my heart. I was curious how a blind person can cope in today's rushed life. Especially when you can't drive. Also I have a personal interest, my 87 yr old mother went suddenly blind in her middle 70's and I wondered why she did some of the things she did. Unlike JT, she gave up, and prefers to be taken care of. Wish I had this book 10 years ago. Anyhow, you are truly an amazing man for all you have accomplished. Luckily you had some sight but the risks you took were pretty scary. So very glad you and Lori got together, it does take a team to deal with blindness. Good luck in all your future endeavors and continue to persevere! Life it good! BTW, I lived in West Virginia near Charleston for about 10 years. Thank you Book Browse for the opportunity to review this ARC.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    It feels kind of weird to rate an autobiography, but I did like this one. It tells the journey of a boy who is slowly going blind. It's slow. Very slow. But also incredibly interesting. It's refreshing. He decides not to let his disability define him, often refusing to tell people and dealing with the consequences. The story isn't just about not being able to see, it's about his life in general. The hiccups. The triumphs. Overall, this book forces you to reexamine your own life and accessibility It feels kind of weird to rate an autobiography, but I did like this one. It tells the journey of a boy who is slowly going blind. It's slow. Very slow. But also incredibly interesting. It's refreshing. He decides not to let his disability define him, often refusing to tell people and dealing with the consequences. The story isn't just about not being able to see, it's about his life in general. The hiccups. The triumphs. Overall, this book forces you to reexamine your own life and accessibility. I never realized that someone in my life could be secretly struggling and doing something small, like putting a dark colored spoon in a white dish, could be make the difference to them. I wouldn't call it a comedy, but this book provides evidence that a diagnosis doesn't mean defeat.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dallas Shattuck

    Thank you NetGalley and Dreamscape media for the gifted audiobook in exchange for an honest review! Overall, I thought this was an interesting memoir. I found myself intrigued and saddened by the lengths the author went to in order to hide his blindness from others. I was disheartened to hear about how employers and others treated his accommodation requests. I enjoyed the humor sprinkled throughout, and found myself laughing out loud a few times. Admittedly, I was confused by the transition betwe Thank you NetGalley and Dreamscape media for the gifted audiobook in exchange for an honest review! Overall, I thought this was an interesting memoir. I found myself intrigued and saddened by the lengths the author went to in order to hide his blindness from others. I was disheartened to hear about how employers and others treated his accommodation requests. I enjoyed the humor sprinkled throughout, and found myself laughing out loud a few times. Admittedly, I was confused by the transition between first and second person, especially in a memoir. Not something I’ve experienced before. Also, not the fault of the narrator, but NetGalley audiobooks tend to sound robotic, which makes it harder to listen to. Overall, a solid 3 stars from me.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    I enjoyed this memoir about a young man who began to go blind as a teenager and his journey through his teenage to young adulthood years. He spent many years trying to hide his disability and eventually came to terms with it. The author does a great job describing how he tries to conceal his vision impairment and how he dealt with it. He seemed to have adapted fairly well to his daily routines. I liked his dating tips for those in denial. It was sad to me the way he often felt isolated due to hi I enjoyed this memoir about a young man who began to go blind as a teenager and his journey through his teenage to young adulthood years. He spent many years trying to hide his disability and eventually came to terms with it. The author does a great job describing how he tries to conceal his vision impairment and how he dealt with it. He seemed to have adapted fairly well to his daily routines. I liked his dating tips for those in denial. It was sad to me the way he often felt isolated due to his disability. He was fortunate to have several understanding friends. I’m glad he met Lori who was a great partner for him and helped him accept his vision impairment. Thank you Bookbrowse for this ARC to review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Marisa Russello

    A lot funnier than I expected! It's not a humor book, but there are some hilarious moments in there. I even laughed out loud a few times. I really enjoyed reading this, and it only took a few days to listen to the audiobook. The author is brutally honest and gives so much insight into his life with this disability. Side note: After reading some of the terrible reviews on here, I just have to say that the writer does not come across pretentious at all. In fact, it's the opposite. I was in awe of A lot funnier than I expected! It's not a humor book, but there are some hilarious moments in there. I even laughed out loud a few times. I really enjoyed reading this, and it only took a few days to listen to the audiobook. The author is brutally honest and gives so much insight into his life with this disability. Side note: After reading some of the terrible reviews on here, I just have to say that the writer does not come across pretentious at all. In fact, it's the opposite. I was in awe of how he was able to navigate the world, and the way he explained his travels from home to the different stores was so interesting. Like he said, he basically had to swim the English Channel in order to walk just two thousand feet to the mall!

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