Thursday, October 23, 2008

Book Review: Crashing Through

Nick mentioned Robert Kurson’s Crashing Through when he first bought it and it immediately caught my interest. The book follows Mike May, blind since the age of 3, through his quest to regain his vision.

The book starts out really bouncy. Every other chapter is set in present day while the alternating chapters are set at some point in the past. One chapter tells about the explosion that caused Mike to lose his vision, one chapter tells about an appointment that he has with an eye doctor telling him that he could possibly regain his vision. It was a bit confusing to follow at first until you were used to the back and forth.

The first half of the book walks you through Mike’s relative independence living as someone who is blind. He has a wife, two kids, and a GPS company that he is trying to get off the ground. The book makes a very specific point to prove that he is has never been afraid to put his head down and ‘crash through’ any obstacles. This is also the case when he is told that he could possibly regain his vision.

He, of course, does regain it as part of a stem cell and cornea transplant. The interesting thing that REALLY makes you think is that he has a very hard time distinguishing specific features of things. His vision isn’t fuzzy, he just can’t see details. He can catch a baseball fine, can locate door knobs etc, but faces seem completely blurry to him. Through many tests and specialists, it was determined that the reason is not with his eye, but with his brain. The portion of his brain that determines faces essentially shut off due to lack of activity for 40 years. Unfortunately it was also determined that he could not turn it back on.

Very interesting to think about.

This book was the best book that I’ve read in a long time. So good that I read it in about 2 weeks – a new record for me. As a result, I gave it 5/5 Shakespeare heads. A can’t miss!