Monday, July 8, 2019

Book Review: 'Unblinded: One Man’s Courageous Journey through Darkness to Sight' by Traci Medford-Rosow and Kevin Coughlin

Unblinded by Traci Medford-Rosow

‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that’ Martin Luther King, Jr

New York City author and lawyer Traci Medford-Rosow comes to this book with extensive experience in the pharmaceutical industry as well as corporate law, having written both articles and books in those arenas, but here she steps into the role of sharing a miracle about which she learned – the fascinating and meaningful life of Kevin Coughlin and his response to a medical phenomenon. 

The scope of this ‘must read’ book’s content is beautifully outlined in the book before the story is shared. ‘Kevin Coughlin wakes up one morning in 1997 and cannot read the newspaper. Even the bold headlines are fuzzy. Kevin has no idea that he is carrying a rare genetic disorder: Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. Within five days he is blind. The tragedy of his sudden blindness is exacerbated by the fact that Kevin is a serious amateur photographer and lover of the visual arts. Every aspect of his life is plunged into unbearable darkness. Kevin’s loss of sight initiates an exploration of his internal world. After decades of heavy drinking, he embarks on the long and difficult road to sobriety. He discovers the powerful effect of his thoughts and spoken words. He chooses to focus on gratitude for what he has rather than on anger at what he has lost. In a world of darkness, he sees how to be kinder to himself and others. He becomes an activist for the blind as only a person who once had eyesight could and is instrumental in establishing New York City’s first blind advocacy program. Fifteen years later, Kevin catches what seems to be a glimpse of light in his bathroom mirror. Kevin’s is the only documented case in the world of a non-medically assisted regeneration of the optic nerve. Over the next three years, Kevin chronicles the daily progress—the euphoria and the agonizing setbacks. It is from those journal entries and deeply moving conversations with Kevin that author Traci Medford-Rosow has shaped Kevin’s remarkable story - a story of miracles within miracles that will leave the reader wondering what lies behind the reality we think we see.’

Both photographs and selected journal entries, a fine manner of documenting this remarkable story, enhance the layout of the book. The joy of reading both Traci’s account and Kevin’s journal produces a sense of wonder as well as the window to appreciating the power of possibilities and the complexities of nature. The writing by both authors is fluid and awe inspiring, delivering the story of how unexpected tragedies can be associated with equally unexpected resolutions – a factor that radiates so fully from this important book. Not only does this book document a medical phenomenon, a mindful journey by Kevin Coughlin, and the resultant vision for a possible better world, but also the proceeds of the sales of this book are designated for The Mitochondrial Disease Foundation. Very highly recommended on many levels. 

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

Order it on Amazon today.
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