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Focus - A Memoir
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Focus - A Memoir

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3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  246 ratings  ·  56 reviews
In her powerful memoir FOCUS, Ingrid Ricks delves into the shock of discovering at age thirty-seven that she was in the advanced stages of Retinitis Pigmentosa, a devastating degenerative eye disease that doctors said would eventually steal her remaining eyesight. FOCUS takes readers into Ingrid’s world as she faces the crippling fear of not being able to see her two young...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published (first published October 24th 2012)
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Jenny Karraker
This was an interesting look at a woman's emotional journey as she faces her rapid loss of sight. It almost reminded me of Kubler-Ross's description of the stages of death: shock, anger, bargaining, withdrawal, and then acceptance. Ricks initially seems to be in denial about the severity of her medical condition. Because of her busy life with work and family, she doesn't notice the deterioration and makes excuses for it. She lashes out at the doctors who try to give her an honest assessment, and...more
Jenny Whetzel
This book is a nice, quick read about the author becoming blind due to a disease. I liked this as I could somewhat relate since I have Lupus. No, I am not blind but I know what it is like to be labeled with a disease. And I know what it's like to have to give up things even though you don't want to but are forced to.

One thing Ingrid tries to focus on is to "live in the now (present)." After 13 years, I am still trying to master that act.

Áine
"Blind people terrified me. Every tap of their white cane or movement of their seeing-eye dog reminded me that they'd been robbed."

So, Ingrid Ricks tells her story, in Focus A Memoir, of Retinitis Pigmentosa and its steady encroachment on her sight over a period of eight years. It could easily have been a story of a severely curtailed life. But it is not.

It is a story not just of coping, not just of surviving, but of really thriving and growing into middle age the way all of us might wish to do...more
Fiona
May 14, 2014 Fiona rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: bio
The author,Ingrid Ricks, is only in her early 40's yet she is losing her eyesight. In fact, by the time she goes to the eye doctor, she is legally blind. This is her story on how she changed her life and accepted her disability.

She was diagnosed with Retinitus Pigmentosa (RP). She lost her peripheral vision so everything she saw was as if through a straw. This is a hereditary disease yet she knew no one in her family who had it. She finally met a doctor who believed that the environment (stress,...more
Alison
This is a short read (and only $.99!) that can be taken in in one sitting, and it's a powerful and moving one at that.

I was first introduced to this author through her memoir, Hippie Boy, which was also great. She has a way of writing really simple, tight prose that, despite its being so short and to-the-point, still manages to say a lot and makes you really root for her as an author and narrator/character.
Sherri
Inspirational. Liked that Ricks did not take a whiny approach and ended up finding the blessings in her disability. Only a 3 for me because it was underdeveloped - it lacked more depth of familial relationships and how the progressive disability affected her family.
Dana Walters
Very good book! You can feel that Ingrid put her heart & soul into this book!
Java Davis
I read Ingrid Ricks' two earlier memoirs. Normally, a person doesn't have enough living under his or her belt to merit three memoirs, but Ingrid has led a rich and varied life.

This book, the size of a novella, concentrates on the author's fight with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that narrows one's field of vision until the vision is completely gone. Ingrid, a fighter since the day she was born, navigates a maze of insights, turning one corner after another, and at each turn, s...more
Linda Martin
This short memoir tells us what it is like to face losing the ability to see. Most of us will never go through this traumatic experience, but knowing what it feels like helps prepare us to understand and interact with vision-impaired friends and acquaintances.

It could be true that every life has a tragedy. For Ingrid Ricks, it is RP, or Retinitis Pigmentosa, a disease that steals away peripheral vision until a person can see only straight ahead through a very small space.

What I loved about Ingri...more
Sharon
This is the second time Ingrid Ricks has kept me glued to the pages with her compelling story. The first time was with her earlier Memoir - Hippie Boy: A Girl's Story.

Focus is an inspiration to read, but I don't think it is fully complete without also reading Hippie Boy. Though they cover two completely different points in time, and different aspects of the author's life - Hippie Boy really shows you how strong Ms. Ricks is as a person.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Focus:

"With no peri...more
Angie Holtz
From Lilac Wolf and Stuff

When I reviewed Hippie Boy, I told you I didn't even know it was a true story until I had finished reading it. Ingrid really does have a flair for words. She came to me and asked if I'd like to review it. I remembered her and knew for a fact I would love to read anything she writes. So here we are. And if you come back on Friday, she has sent along a guest post and a giveaway of her book Focus.

So, back to the book. Ingrid is writing about her degenerative eye disease, Re...more
Jane Turner

“The wall ran into me.”

That’s what happens to Ingrid Ricks as her eyesight deteriorates to 2% of normal, according to her eye-opening new memoir, “FOCUS.” But encroaching blindness from Retinitis Pigmentosis is not something Ingrid accepts lying down. She fights it with the biggest weapon in her arsenal: denial.

Unfortunately denial does not stop the progression of Ingrid’s genetic disease and when a friend refuses to let her drive carpool, the truth of her loss hits home. She decides to do every...more
Libby Maxey
Ingrid Ricks writes with fierce, intense honesty; not just in "Focus" but in every word she applies to media of any kind. Real human honesty is extremely attractive and compelling, which makes her work sing with the blessed treachery of living in a human body in our blessed, treacherous social "order."
As a Brownie scout, my troop took a day-long field trip to the school for the blind in Indianapolis. It was unforgettable: one of the first experiences of my young life that was both devastating an...more
Judie
Ingrid Ricks was a journalist, marketing/PR consultant, and author. When she was in her late 30s, she was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), a degenerative eye disease. While she had 20/20 vision at a few years earlier, by age 37 she had lost her peripheral vision and became legally blind
She worked to support herself and her husband, John, when he went to law school and was fiercely independent. After he graduated and joined a law firm. She took care of their two young daughters while h...more
Kim
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Isis
This brief but fascinating memoir really packs a lot into a short amount if space. As the title at least hints at, if not shouts out, one of the major themes of this memoir is the detailed story of Ms. Ricks loss of vision. The memoir takes us from before the diagnosis through to the 'present' of the publication of her memoirs.

It is an interesting read and her biggest hurdles/self-discoveries are all worth some thought when applied to the reader's life. The challenges and lessons learned may not...more
JamieLynn Boothe
I am so very grateful that I had the opportunity to read your memoir!! Thank you very much for writing it!! I too am an author, new at it and still waiting to publish my first novel. What amazed me about yours is the strength you have and how open minded you were able to become to your disease. I also have a disease although different from yours. Mine is the disease of addiction but I am in recovery with over a year clean. I forget sometimes about what I have to be grateful for. You helped me to...more
Debbie Young
An Honest Memoir

Ingrid Ricks is startled to learn she is legally blind with no hope of a cure. She takes us through her myriad feelings and adjustments in this easy to read poignant memoir. I usually don't care for this wrting style but this is an exception. And I'm particularly pleased that she provides us with a way to follow her progress.
Cathy
I was very engrossed by this book. I have bad eyesight myself and like the author always thought it would be the worst thing that could ever happen to me if I were to go blind. I am glad she shared her story with us in how she finally let people know she was legally blind. It's good to be focused on the positives she does have. I used to cry myself to sleep at night as a child, promising God I would be good if only he would fix my eyes so I would not have to wear glasses. Of course that did not...more
Cate H
The writing is rough around the edges, but interesting memoir.
Barbara
I absolutely loved this book. I found the writing realistic, honest, and inspiring. I was so moved by the author's attitude and way of coping with her disease. She always focused on what she could do instead of what she couldn't do. When she felt down, her family was there to pick her up and she righted the ship. The last chapter on what she learned and gained I found especially moving. I learned a lot from reading the memoir - not about blindness, but about determination, honesty, priorities, f...more
Cynthia Vogel
Focus and Perspective

this book was a fast read but was engrossing for me, having recently been diagnosed with glaucoma, a disease like the one that Ingrid has which eats away at your peripheral vision... I am not as far advanced as was the writer, so it was educational and frightening at the same time. Thank you Ingrid for the glimpse at what lies, ahead. You are brave and the peek you've allowed us into the thoughts of someone who is losing her vision, is useful not only to the blind but to the...more
Jennifer D. Munro
This book inspired me in a way that lingers, in the way that Bauby's The Diving Bell and the Butterfuly has continued to inspire me for years--to keep going and to realize how lucky I am. I don't exaggerate when I say that I think about Ricks's book every single day, and about the determination of the author. I learned a lot about an eye disease I'd never heard of before, but mostly I was gripped by the story of a woman who is given a terrible diagnosis but, instead of giving up, uses it to impr...more
Beth
This non-fiction book was about a young woman in her 30's and how she struggles after her diagnosis of Retinitis Pigmentosa. I was very interested as I have worked with visually impaired people two different times in my career. She goes through many different emotional stages and chronicles her journey here. I recommend to anyone dealing with grief over a personal loss.
Diane
I read this memoir in one sitting. It is a very well written story about the author's diagnosis and coming to terms with an eye disease like macular degeneration that has no cure and results in nearly total blindness. The was only 37 at the time, a working wife and mother of two young children, and her diagnosis shocked her. The book tells of her coming to terms with her eye disease, and persevering through it. A good and educating read.
Ficbot
This was a well-written and engaging memoir about the author's struggles with a degenerative eye disease. It was a little too short for my taste---there were parts that could have merited more detail, and it ended rather abruptly, hence the low rating. If the book had been a little more fleshed out, it would have been one of my memorable reads of the year. The writing quality was there, there just wasn't enough of it!
Onna
I started reading this book by mistake, thinking it was a totally different genre of book, but once I started I could hardly put it down! It's not a boring memoir like so many can be, nor does it drone on and on and on about the woes of her degenerative eye disease. She provided a perfect balance of fact and life experiences. Honestly, she sounds like a person I wouldn't mind having as a friend.
Ida
A heartfelt memoir of a woman who is learning to live with the progressive loss of her eyesight. Ingrid Ricks doesn't hold back on her emotions, but doesn't dwell on them either. The book is brief, deals with her fight against Retinitus Pigmentosa, her methods of survival, and the changes she has to make in order to adjust to her condition. It is an inspirational book.
Ruth
Books like Focus are proof that memoirs can be very powerful stories. Even though I am not losing my eyesight, as Ingrid Ricks has, I very much related to her response to finding out about her condition as well as how she navigated the emotions and problems she and her family faced. Short, very readable and, for me, a story with a life lesson.
Kari
I read Focus after hearing Ingrid Ricks speak at a publishing conference. She's a great speaker, a wonderful writer, and an inspiring woman.

Focus is very relatable because Ricks conveys clearly how it feels like to have a degenerative eye disease, and what that means to her identity.

I look forward to reading her other books as well.
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Ingrid Ricks is a Seattle-based journalist, author, and teen mentor who leverages the new world of digital publishing to give teens a voice. Using her New York Times bestselling debut memoir Hippie Boy: A Girl’s Story as a catalyst, she recently co-launched WeAreAbsolutelyNotOkay.org, a nationally recognized mentoring/publishing program that helps teens find their voice by writing and publishing t...more
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