Blind Sighted

Blind Sighted

4.3 8
by Peter Moore
     
 

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Just when things start coming together for Kirk Tobak, it looks like everything might fall apart. Fifteen years old, Kirk has always been a loner. He's smart, but does badly in school. He's funny, but never had too many friends. But when he gets demoted into a new English class, things begin to look up: He meets a rock-n-roll slacker, who becomes a real friend;… See more details below

Overview

Just when things start coming together for Kirk Tobak, it looks like everything might fall apart. Fifteen years old, Kirk has always been a loner. He's smart, but does badly in school. He's funny, but never had too many friends. But when he gets demoted into a new English class, things begin to look up: He meets a rock-n-roll slacker, who becomes a real friend; and there's a girl who likes his writing-she might even like him. And his new job is great: He reads to a dynamic young blind woman who somehow makes him feel good about himself.

And that's when the bottom falls out. Kirk comes home one night to a note from his mom on the kitchen table. She's gone off to California with her boyfriend, leaving Kirk alone. Kirk is determined to stay and make it on his own, but he's juggling a lot at once, and he doesn't know how long he can last. Readers will find themselves cheering for Kirk in this funny, touching first novel.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
This solid if often familiar first novel follows a poetry-writing New Jersey 15-year-old as he makes a sometimes amusing, more often painful journey toward adulthood. Kirk has several strikes against him. Besides being short and virtually friendless, he has to contend with an alcoholic mother and her condescending boyfriend. Then things get worse. First his poor attitude and spotty performance earn him a demotion from honors English to a class full of "washouts." Next, his mother and her beau run off to California together. Ironically, these worrisome developments mark a positive turning point in Kirk's life. While trying to keep his mother's absence a secret, he develops some unlikely friendships with students from his new English class, one of whom becomes a girlfriend, and a blind woman in her late 20s, who hires Kirk to read to her after school. These individuals, initially misjudged by Kirk, influence him in ways that help him take control of his future. At first, readers may be put off by Kirk's cocky, wise-cracking narration, but as the book progresses, the protagonist's tough exterior dissolves layer by layer to reveal a frustrated adolescent experiencing universal growing pains. Although the plot unfolds along predictable lines, Moore's true-to-life dialogue and his handling of the characters' relationships will hit home with teens. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
KLIATT
A book about an unattractive teenager who has no friends always seems to be a hard sell. Kirk is 15, smart but a terrible student, awkward, short, with an unfortunate home life and no happiness anywhere�except with books, perhaps. He reads all the time and has a job at the library. A librarian arranges for Kirk to take over a job reading to a blind woman. Kirk at first assumes this is an elderly lady, so he is stunned to find out that a beautiful young woman who hardly even appears to be blind is his employer. Blind Sighted, the title, takes on at least several meanings: the young woman Callie is blind, yes, but she understands a great deal; Kirk is sighted, yes, but blind about so much in life. Kirk's mother is a rather inept single mother with a scheme to move to California and start a new life with a new man; in the middle of the story, she leaves Kirk alone to fend for himself, and pressures him to leave everything and join her and her new husband. This appeal comes just as Kirk has finally gotten a girlfriend, who is a bit wild, eager to have sex with him, to drink and smoke some dope. And Kirk has a new friend, a musician, who wants to collaborate with Kirk writing songs, with Kirk writing the lyrics. All this is jelling, as is Kirk's connection to Callie, who is becoming very dear to him. Kirk's life does unravel, however. His money is running out. He is confused about love. He has too much responsibility and is too much alone. Fortunately, after some terrible blunders, Kirk and his life do start making some sense and by the end of the book, Kirk seems to be on a good path. Callie is a wonderful character, who balances out Kirk's immaturity and awkwardness. This is Moore's firstnovel. He works as a guidance counselor in a junior high in New York City; I suspect he has known a few boys like Kirk and cared about what happens to them. Category: Hardcover Fiction. KLIATT Codes: S�Recommended for senior high school students. 2002, Penguin Putnam, Viking, 262p.,
— Claire Rosser; KLIATT
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Kirk Tobak, 16, is a brilliant, undersized underachiever. His uneventful life in small-town New Jersey includes playing parent to his alcoholic mother, blowing off school where he's "chairman of the bored," and shelving books in the library he loves. Life might be a drag, but it's under control, at least until events conspire to take him on a heady roller-coaster ride through the confusion of first love, a rocky taste of independence, and a severe dose of reality. Demoted into bonehead English, Kirk is jolted to find a perceptive teacher trading jibes with the "burnouts," including Big Glenn, whom Kirk proceeds to insult, crossing "the line from obscurity to suicide." Glenn, though, realizes that "the Hobbit" thinks fast and writes wickedly clever verse-a welcome gift for a guitarist who writes great music. An unlikely friendship develops, and their needy and sexually intense classmate, Lauren, falls for the virgin protagonist. Kirk also finds himself involuntarily hired to read to a blind woman, who turns out to be an unexpected (and original) catalyst. Just as life is looking rosy, Mom takes off to California. Kirk refuses to budge, conveniently ignoring the looming crisis. As he discovers sex (the good, the bad, the disappointing) and the miracle of an intense intellectual friendship with the blind Callie, Mom gets her life together and puts the house up for sale, and Kirk must figure out himself and his relationships. The author's plotting is complex and subtle. Moore writes snappy dialogue that is dead-on accurate teenage banter. The characters are sympathetic and real, the dilemmas heartfelt, and Kirk's first-person monologues and personal riffs are priceless.-Mary R. Hofmann, Rivera Middle School, Merced, CA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Smaller than most seventh graders, not cool, not interested and not achieving, Kirk is a junior who writes poetry during class and heads for the library to work at shelving books after school. A major reader, he thinks of himself as an observer, not a participant. Kirk and his mother have settled into a dull routine that allows his mother to work as a waitress and go drinking with her sleazy boyfriend whenever she likes, while Kirk takes care of himself. A pregnant woman at the library offers Kirk her job reading for a blind woman about the same time that Glenn, another lackadaisical student discovers that Kirk�s lyrics might go great with his guitar music. These lyrics interspersed as poems reveal Kirk�s verbal acuity and insight. Slowly, Kirk becomes drawn into a community of friends and connects with "Parole Girl" in his first foray into a sexual experience, all the time continuing his connection with Callie, who became blind in the same accident that killed her parents. All the typical teen-angst elements are here: drugs, sex, rock n�roll, guidance counselor contracts, and (when Mom takes off for California) the absentee parent. Fortunately, the vividness, wry humor, and believability of the dialogue, plus the emotional roller coaster that Kirk experiences, rescues readers. Things do not go according to plan and the unpredictability turns stock characters into believable people, including surprisingly, both Callie and Mom. Unexpectedly engaging. (Fiction. YA)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142401262
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date:
07/22/2004
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
4.22(w) x 6.76(h) x 0.71(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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