On My Own is a fascinating book. Sally Hobart Alexander went blind as an adult, and began to tell her story in Taking Hold, My Journey into Blindness. Here is a continuation. Moving from a rural area in Pennsylvania to Pittsburgh, she began to teach newly blinded adults at the Greater Pittsburgh Guild for the Blind, where she herself had been trained. She still had some vision, but during the school year, even that began to disappear. As she became accustomed to being totally without sight, she also began to lose her hearing. The book is totally without self-pity, but Alexander does admit to having had plenty of that. Fortunately, she got over the worst of it, and without being self-righteous about her optimism.
- Mary Sue Preissner
This is the fourth installment in Alexander's life story that document the blindness that overtook her life while she was in her mid-twenties. After completing training at the Greater Pittsburgh Guild for the Blind, she became an instructor for them. Part One chronicles her successes, defeats, joys and sorrows during this period of her life. In Part Two, Alexander leaves her job, enters graduate school, and gets married. This book is full of emotion; it takes readers on a roller coaster ride as they share the feelings and everyday events that are overshadowed by Alexander's disability. But clearly, Alexander is never down for long; she takes her disabilities and turns them into assets.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 UpIn this sequel to Taking Hold: My Journey into Blindness (S & S, 1994), Alexander details her quest at age 26 to establish an independent life after losing her sight. Elated that she is the only nonsighted person hired to teach other blind people at the guild from which she has graduated and pleased to be using her navigation skills in her new Pittsburgh apartment and neighborhood, Alexander thinks her life has become manageable, pleasant, and almost acceptableuntil new problems arise. When her supervisor insists she teach Braille rapidly rather than customize it to her pupils' needs and she has an ethical disagreement with the guild head, she resigns despite a shortage of money. There are bumpy relationships with boyfriends, and her hearing, an extremely important sense for the blind, begins to deteriorate. The author's realistic descriptions are interesting and instructive. Her heartwarming account is easy to read and admirable in its depiction of both the struggles and normalcy of challenged people, important in correcting stereotypes.Cindy Darling Codell, Clark Middle School, Winchester, KY