REVERSALS: A Personal Account of Victory over Dyslexia by Eileen Simpson

REVERSALS: A Personal Account of Victory over Dyslexia

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Because she unknowingly suffered from dyslexia, the neurophysiological learning disorder now recognized to hamper one in ten people, Eileen Simpson was frequently accused of reading and writing gibberish. Here, however, she vividly recreates the painful bewilderment of being unable to please, and captures her classroom environs with stinging portraits of her teachers: ""If you continue to defy me, you'll get a failure in conduct as well as reading."" Providing some helpful clinical background on the dyslexic tendency to reverse or scramble letters, words, and numbers (theories on its causality, current methods of treatment, etc.), Simpson pleads for reading centers where such afflictions can be detected as early as preschool, thus maximizing the potential for successful treatment and minimizing the child's chance to develop a sense of worthlessness. But the real impact of the book is in its ironies--Simpson came from a family of proud educators, ascended from grade to grade and through college largely on the basis of ""social promotions,"" began to conquer her disability through the wordplay of Ulysses, and after marrying poet John Berryman contrived to ""pass"" in academia with the likes of William Carlos Williams, Delmore Schwartz, and R. P. Blackmur. When the ""victory"" finally comes, the details are a bit fuzzy, and relapses seem to cloud it. But Simpson, now a practicing psychotherapist, writes with a calm and informative detachment--all the more astounding in view of her capability, even as an adult, to write (to JB) such sentences as ""Tomorrow we calabrent M's birthday.

Pub Date: Feb. 8th, 1978
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin