A journalis for the " New York Press " provides the story of a oung writer surviving the onslaught of retinitis pigmentosa, a rare genetic disease the final result of which is blindness.

From Publishers Weekly
Readers of the alternative New York Press newspaper who are amiliar with Knipfel 's irreverent " Slackjaw " column wo n't be surprised to read that this boo of his grudging capitulation to a degenerative eye disease is the metapho of the therapeutic memoir. Knipfel is honest, but not earnest; if he has any epiphanies, he presents them with more than a grain of salt. In the introduction, he explains the rare genetic disease, retinitis pigmentosa, and mentions the ensuing complication of a brain tumo and its alarming physical and emotional symptoms. Knipfel 's writing is marked by bitter wit and manic irony. His inability to be unny about what happens to him leaves the reader no choice but to laugh along with him. Knipfel wore glasses from the age of three, but his parents seem to have had no inkling of the eriousness of his vision problems. An uncle, however, appeared prophetic when he said to the 12-year-old Knipfel, " You 'd better start learning Braille now. " But an accurate diagnosis was n't made until Knipfel was in his late 20s. Knipfel claims to have had a natural contrariness and, to illustrate the point, informs readers that he habitually wore a Chicago Bears jersey in Green Bay. Later, in New York ity, Knipfel 's marriage went into a tailspin, his sight worsened and he blundered through a series of bizarr encounters with the bureaucracy of blindness organizations? all of which he makes sound quite funny. Beyond the humor, however, his sharp sense of the absurdit and his candor about his own considerable failings of character provide a moving reflection on what it is to face blindness and not, under any circumstance, to feel orry for himself.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Published February 15th 1999 by Tarcher (first published 1999
Original Title of the Book
Slackjaw: A Memoir
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gave it

I 've recommended this ook to folks in EVERY walk of life you can imagine ( as I 'm still straddling parallel lives) and every person who 's read it says that they can not believe they had n't heard about it before.

gave it

He immediately shared to the reade his illness from the eginning of the stories; a form of veer to the usual narrative that we often see today on usual " living with disabilities " novels.

You can never imagine how a man like Jim had lived his life with such illness.

Mart proved that regardless of his illness, he still lived life in a punk-rock, rebellious and comical way opposite to anyone who could have think of.

gave it

Regardless, I think anybod who appreciates cynicism or sarcasm will find Knipfel 's book highly satisfying.

gave it

Legally blind, suicidally depressed, subject to manic rages, and funny as hell, Knipfel is unique in the annals of “ living with disabilities ” books.

On the one hand, this is a fairly straightforwar book: man going blind learns to deal with it.

Knipfel deals with big issues like mental illness and physical disability honestly, clearly, and with savage humor.

gave it

This is a great quick read- I started it in the airport, waiting for my flight, and finished as we were taxiing up to the gate.

gave it

For some, that might seem like reading the ending before finishing the novel, but for me, it was more about being unabl to focus on the subtext, knowing that the answers were probably hidden in there instead of in the actual rose, if in fact he did ... you know ... off himself.

Jim Knipfel is going blind.

But it is insidious, and it is frightening. ” I read this ook with more lurking fear than just wondering if Knipfel would be reluctant to make the transition from being just depressed in general, to depressed and blind, to depressed, blind, and old.

I probably needed them sooner, but that was the age when I was launched from the rock house on the farm to the world of other little people ... kindergarten.

# thatwouldbesarcasmMy one question for the optometrist with each visit was, ... am I going to go blind? There is no sugar coating for Knipfel.

Knipfel writes this column for various newspapers throughout his life called Slackjaw, in which he discusses his life, making his way around the ity, but also his ongoing battle with the onset of blindness.

Turn the rage outward, go out and try to destroy the world instead. ” I do think ost of us do a pretty decen job of punishing ourselves for what the world does to us.

In the case of Knipfel, when he gets hate mail, it is a little more personal.

The optometrist informed me that I had a massive cataract, a solar eclipse, and that soon my right eye, suffering from the same condition, would also slowly go dark.

For ost people, getting a cataract so young would seem terrible, but in my case, it turned out to be more interesting than hitting the lottery.

He was unable to put new lenses in my yes, and for the seventh time since I was four years old, I can see without the assistanc of glasses or contacts.

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