EMMA AND I by Sheila Hocken
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A vital personal narrative that genuinely deserves those overused press-release words like ""courageous"" and ""moving."" Sheila was born with limited vision (congenital cataracts) to an unindulgent Nottingham family which sent her to regular schools and never thought handicap, so she grew up with spotty academic skills (decimal points were treacherous) and a strong independent streak. As a young woman, her vision gone, she worked an adjusted switchboard, moved in with a sighted friend (""she treated me as a paid-up member of the human race""), and ultimately learned to live on her own with Emma, a chocolate-brown Labrador of shining resourcefulness: Emma could find her way in strange neighborhoods and learned to snuggle with cats. Still in her twenties, Sheila mastered makeup application and dressmaking basics, married podiatrist Don Hocken, and took on speaking engagements for the blind. But the happy ending keeps spiraling upward when a Seventies operation removes the cataracts, giving her full sight for Don, Emma, a field of grass (""But it's all different shades, all different greens""), and the everyday items she only knew by touch--a cup of coffee was a real puzzler. A two-hankie minimum.

Pub Date: June 9th, 1978
Publisher: Dutton