DO YOU DREAM IN COLOR?: INSIGHTS FROM A GIRL WITHOUT SIGHT.
By Laurie Rubin. New York: Seven Stories Pr, 2012. 390 pp. Paper. $18.95
This will be a short review, the point of which is that every parent who has a blind child, indeed, everyone who deals with blind children, should read this book. The reason is not whether or not it is “inspiring,” as the blurbs insist—any story of anyone overcoming great odds has, by its nature, the power to inspire—but that it tells us, from the inside, in unhyped, direct, and personal prose, just what the experience is of being blind, as a child and as an adult.
I have never heard mezzo-soprano Laurie Rubin live, but the clips on her website tell me that she has a fine, well-trained voice. Though there have been setbacks in getting to her professional goals, her story is one of persistence and encouragement, two attributes of supreme importance to everyone, I should think, but especially necessary to all who are handicapped. She doesn’t take much time off for self-pity. She also does not hide the fact that she has had and continues to have the necessary, often intangible, support of friends and teachers, but especially of her mother and father, her brother, and her partner. But in many ways, what is especially interesting is that she makes this a normal story. All the concerns of growing up, her anxieties about getting into the right college (Oberlin), her nervousness at auditions are known to every student and are all here. In a curious way, it is almost immaterial that she is blind. But it is not, of course, as we learn what it is to have to prepare even the most trivial movement from one place to another.
I am told that some version of the title question is the most-common query put to blind people, and I regret to have to admit that I once asked something like it of a colleague. Rubin tells us it was that question from a little girl that set her to writing this book as an answer. It’s a good reply.