Introduced by Ellie Wait, student at the Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford
I remember sitting down to read this book with a sceptical mindset. I had previously been informed by a teacher of mine that the protagonist was blind and as a visually impaired person, I was intrigued. In hindsight I wrongfully doubted the ability of Marcus Sedgwick to write about the obstacles that people with sight-loss hurdle over every day. I read this book about two years ago and can still recall the sense of relief I felt as I ploughed through each chapter and realised that Sedgwick was not aiming to thrust pity upon Laureth which was a trap I feared he would get caught up in.
I was repeatedly taken aback by Sedgwick’s presentation of Laureth who despite being blind, threw herself into a gripping adventure with the assistance of her younger brother who seems to be just as courageous as her. Despite the fact that her lack of vision is a poignant cornerstone of her character, she is revealed to be as compassionate, quick witted and resourceful as she is blind. Between herself and her supportive younger brother Benjamin, there is an essence of fearlessness which is exhilarating to read as two unlikely young people become heroes.
The independent streak that he gifted Laureth with was seemingly inspired by his research. He spent much time liaising with the R.N.I.B and the students of a college for the blind and visually impaired called New College Worcester which allowed him to capture the essence of life as a blind young person despite being fully sighted himself. When talking to the students he learned that very few books are ever published into a braille format and so, Sedgwick insisted that the book would be released in multiple formats, including braille, large print and audio which allowed everyone to access the beautifully written novel.
It is not necessarily a book that circles around the idea of being blind. The disability is merely an accessory to the spine-tingling story. She Is Not Invisible is a contemporary thriller about coincidence which drags you through anticipation, fear, and worry as Laureth tries to find her father somewhere in the bustling heart of modern day New York.
I found this setting to be unexpected. Having dabbled in and out of a couple of Sedgwick’s books before, I began to notice that many of his settings were usually of a gothic nature which added to the tension to his plot lines. However, he retained the reader’s attention throughout the descriptions of the iconic hustle and bustle of ‘The Big Apple’.
She Is Not Invisible is a riveting read which I would not hesitate to recommend. It sends your mind on a treasure hunt of questions and queries as it explores many thought provoking topics such as disabilities, trust, family and above all, coincidence.
Ellie Wait and Danielle Brewster, both students at the Royal National College for the Blind, are guest hosting A BOOK A DAY IN HAY this week. Tomorrow, Danielle introduces Funerals are Fatal by Agatha Christie.