Blind Sighted

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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...
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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.

Kirk, a creative misfit who is in trouble at high school because he is bored with his classes, learns to deal with his alcoholic mother, new friends, and life with the help of a blind young woman who hires him to read to her.

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Editorial Reviews

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
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: 9780670035434
  • Publisher: Penguin Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 9/28/2002
  • Pages: 272
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 540L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.72 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Moore
Peter Moore
Peter Moore is Australia's best-loved travel author. His first book, No Shitting in the Toilet, quickly became a backpacker classic. His second, The Wrong Way Home, is regarded as 'must-read' for those considering taking the overland route from London to Sydney. And Vroom with a View, which captures the unbridled joy of jumping on a Vespa and riding around Italy.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2009

    Really Let Me Down (Reviewed by TheBookworm)

    Blind Sighted<BR/>By Peter Moore<BR/>Pub. Date: September 2002 <BR/>2 out of 5 stars<BR/>PG-13 - Profanity, Sexual Content, Violence<BR/>Not Recommended<BR/><BR/>Lonely high school student Kirk and his mother, who enjoys more than the occasional beer, have a very rocky relationship with no father in the picture. His mother has always been full of schemes and ways to get out of this nowhere town, but one in particular seems to be stuck in her mind. As school problems arise and Kirk¿s respect for his mother dies, he forms bonds of friendship that he never could have foresaw. Then after a few particularly cutting fights, he comes home to an empty house. While his mother is trying to chase her ill-conceived dreams, he tries to keep the truth about his predicament under wraps. But as his savings account dwindles and the blind woman he reads to grows closer to his heart, keeping the truth a secret is becoming harder and harder.<BR/><BR/>Blind Sighted really let me down. It was nowhere near as innocent or touching as the synopsis made it sound. The only ¿moral¿ of the story that I could find was the fact that you must think maturely, reasonably, and logically and be willing to compromise to fix problems. Lines that were suppose to be touching or cutting to the soul just sounded like a fortune cookie that didn¿t make enough sense to be understood. The meaning behind the words came and went in a confusing fog.<BR/><BR/>There was sexual activity between Kirk and his girlfriend. They both felt isolated and abused, so they were both searching for something to fill the void of loneliness. They both felt their relationship was fake¿ and it was. I don¿t believe there was any reason to pity Kirk because his lack of respect for anyone besides himself got him into these tough spots. In the end he needed to some how mature and sort out his priorities and plans to make things right.<BR/><BR/>If your not dying to read Blind Sighted and your library doesn¿t have a copy, don¿t worry about getting one. <BR/><BR/>Date Reviewed: January 15th, 2009<BR/><BR/>For more book reviews and book information check out my blog at www.inthecurrent.blogspot.com

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2007

    blind sighted was a good book =)

    if i had to catorgorize this book into one sentence it would be 'Kirk Tobak is one adolesence teen and it all goes down hill for him' 5 positive things i liked about the book were... 1) That teens in our generation can relate to Kirk Tobak. 2) That its very hard to juggle things all at once like having a girlfriend, problems at home, and school all at once. 3) That you could fall so easy for a person without really knowing there true personalitly. 4) That its ok to show your emotions when times get rough and your backs against the wall. 5) That this book was a good read!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2007

    Hello, amazing.

    'Blind Sighted' seemed to be one of those books you just kind of pick up at the school library it had a simple cover, with a relevant high-school story. But when I read it, I was taken by the blunt way everything was described in detail, from the thoughts of Kirk to his dysfunctional life. Peter Moore dragged me into the often stereotyped world of teen attention-grabbing books that achieve popularity by friends' recommendations, rather than pointless reviews. Who better to understand what you like in a book than a friend?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2006

    AWESOME!!!!!

    this book was awesome. u can really relate to everything that is going on. i recamend this book 100%!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2005

    Very good book

    very very good book. goes through the messed-up life of a teenage boy: his mom, his new girlfriend, feelings for an older woman. but he manages to pull through the tough times and learns some valuable lessons from a blind woman.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2004

    Best book ever!!!!!!

    This is the best book i've ever read. It's funny and totally original.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2004

    A Great Book

    I thought this book was great! I read it in 5 days and enjoyed every page. It had great detail and it was one of the best books I have read in a long time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2004

    Outstanding

    I read this book in three days. It was one of the best books I have read this year. I loved the way everything fell into place. It didn't seem like it was just coming out of nowhere. Everything was related in some way or another. I think Peter Moore is a wonderful author and looking foward to reading some other books of his.

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