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Cockeyed

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  637 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
This irreverent, tragicomic, politically incorrect, astoundingly articulate memoir about going blind-and growing up--illuminates not just the author's reality, but the reader's.
ebook, 288 pages
Published August 5th 2007 by PublicAffairs (first published April 28th 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Faye
Dec 26, 2011 Faye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When Ryan Knighton was 18 and I was 14, we both worked at the same restaurant in Suburbia. He and the owner teased me their fair share and I loved it.

When I saw Cockeyed on the Canada Reads 2012 list , I thought, hey, is this that, Ryan? Well, it is!

Reading this was like a one-sided reunion. While for most people this is a "book about a blind guy", albeit a funny one, this was for me a life after Langley coming of age. When he talks about losing his shoe at a concert in Vancouver, I'm thinking,
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Liz
Mar 11, 2009 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really really loved this book! Partly because I could totally relate due to the fact that my daughter is very visually impaired. It was great to read about how he dealt with his blindness and how he didn't let it get in the way of success. It really showed how just because someone is blind, doesn't mean that the person can't lead an amazing life... i.e. great job, friends, marriage...etc. Even if those things are more difficult for the person to achieve.
The world needs to know that just becau
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Ruth
Dec 15, 2016 Ruth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first got glasses when I turned eight, … and changed the lens every six months for years. No one said anything, but I knew I was going blind. I read every children’s book I could find on blind people, fiction and non-fiction. When my eyes finally stabilized in my twenties, I was almost disappointed. I had prepared my whole life for blindness and now it wasn’t happening. For a while I felt lost.
This book on blindness is the first one I have read since that time. I never imagined partial sight.
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Julia
Oct 07, 2011 Julia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I found this memoir in the biographies section of an annual used book fair held in a local school. It sounded interesting to me because I don't know much about blindness or being blind and the cover promised that this would be a humorous account. What I found, however, was one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read. Ryan Knighton writes about how he began to lose his eyesight, how it affected his life and relationships and how he came to eventually accept his abilities. What I found part ...more
Mike
Jun 16, 2008 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Man loses sight, drives car off road.. Lives to tell story.
Shannon
Jan 03, 2008 Shannon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
I read this under the pretense that it was unsentimental and hilarious, as it says on the back. Well, it lied. I thought it was sentimental at times (though not overly so).. and "hilarious" is quite a stretch. But I'm kind of harsh when it comes to finding things funny. It was, however, not really bad at all. The thing that I disliked the most was the way the author seemed to divide everyone in the world into either blind or sighted. I mean, I guess that's as fair a division as any, it was just ...more
Alexis
Jul 02, 2010 Alexis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
I really liked the honesty of this book, as well as its self deprecating humour. I learned a lot about blindness and about living in a sighted world. Can't wait to read his next book. This is one of my favourite types of books right now- the personal memoir. I'm really into them right now.
Cindy
Nov 05, 2016 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, blindness
Loved this author and his sense of humor. As the parent of a visually impaired child, I enjoyed Knighton's perspective on blindness. Laughter goes a long way!
Philip
Mar 11, 2009 Philip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
I imagine it must be harder to lose sight than to be born without. I guess that's one of those questions that we'll never know the answer to though.

Ryan Knighton does a pretty good job at describing what it's like to lose it though.

Knighton has Retinitis Pigmentosa - which meant he'd slowly go blind. The process was so gradual that he didn't realize it was happening for a long time. The main reason I read this book was because I have a daughter with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia and she is slowly gain
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Karen
An utterly fantastic book. Canadian Ryan Knighton has been growing blind since his teens, and at the time of this book's publication (2006) he was approximately 33 and had 1% of his sight left. He writes with a clear, approachable style and with a great sense of both perspective and humor.

Like some of the other books I've read about young men going blind, Ryan was pretty fiercely independent and didn't use a cane during the early stages of his visual degeneration. However, he did discover punk
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Gwen
I absolutely loved this. I picked it up at a dollar store, thinking it would be a quick read while on vacation and something I could leave behind when I leave to make way for souvenirs, but now done I think I might keep it. Kingston gives a wonderful view into the world of the blind, and not just the mechanics of how to use a cane, but the emotional and mental adaptations that someone has to go through while learning to deal with the disability.



Not born blind, he has a great way with words to c
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Karen
Ryan Knighton, author of Cockeyed, has taken his trials and tribulations and turned them into a witty and insightful memoir that walks the reader through his journey from a clumsy teen to an unsighted adult. Despite the obvious hardships of his circumstances Knighton uses thoughtful insight and colourful imagery to educate the reader. His unique point of view shows the typical reactions of the general public and his own reactions to his unexpected circumstances.

Although you may expect this novel
...more
Dawn
Jul 15, 2010 Dawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really did love this book and here's why: It's got life, depth, sparkle, sensitivity, honesty, humor, and the ability to educate me on the interesting life he's led. I laughed when Ryan was talking about how people shouldn't worry so much about the "sighted words" in language. He's got a way with words, which includes making the reader FEEL (and yes, SEE) things, not just read them. Ryan's imagery is colorful and clear, from the beginning when he's working his first summer job and itching to d ...more
Jo Lin
Sep 03, 2007 Jo Lin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to know more about blindness, or just wants to read a book by a talented writer
From almost the first chapter, I was already phrasing in my mind the email I would write to the author to tell him how much I enjoyed reading his book.

The book had personal relevance for me, so I probably got more out of it than most people would. I've got to admire people who get over the tough breaks that life hands to them and write about it, but that doesn't mean that I'll read their book. What kept me turning the pages was that Knighton is a talented writer, period. I especially enjoyed the
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Jenn
May 01, 2011 Jenn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-find
I would probably be a jackass too if I were going blind. "Cockeyed" answers the question about what it's like to go blind after living your childhood and adolescence with sight. I picked up this book after hearing one of Knighton's essays on This American Life about being blind with an infant and going for a walk. Fascinating stuff. This is the beginning of his blindness and his jackassery to those who love him (and those he relies on) is kind of gut wrenching. I couldn't date him much less marr ...more
Diane Ramirez
Jun 30, 2009 Diane Ramirez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Highly recommended! At the age of 18, Ryan Knighton was diagnosed with a rare disease in which he'd lose his sight. Don't let the word "memoir" scare you -- this is so much more than that. Knighton has written an elegy on his particular understandings of the world in ways that illuminated so much to me I, with my completely functional eyes, had never considered. There is nary a look-what-a-crappy-hand-I've-been-dealt, nor does he pontificate on all the things he just knows he knows. If anything, ...more
Susie
May 29, 2012 Susie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carol
Apr 01, 2011 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Carol by: Madison Public Library, April Humor Month
Shelves: memior, favorite
Reading this book is quite an experience!

Ryan's Knighton journey into blindness is moving, honest, funny (laugh out loud), sad, profound ... but his never pities himself. How it affects Ryan and those around him is fascinating. The book covered topic, rational that were never in my scope of living. Amazing book!

I love in the end how he describes himself coming to terms with blindness. His use of language and how important it is to be true to meaning. ~ 3rd last chapter "From What I Hear" is wort
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Kate
Nov 08, 2007 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with friends who are going blind
I read this book because a friend has the same degenerative eye disease as the author (and because I read a good review of it in Time Out NY (and because the author looked really hot in the picture in the magazine... what? I'm only human!)), and I wanted to know what his experience was like and what might be in store for my friend down the road.

The memoir was nothing special -- or at least no more so than anyone who tells their own story. Frustrating relationships, growing pains, self-discovery.
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Tiffany
Ryan Knighton is a funny guy. He writes very easily and his good sense of irony and homour come through on the page. I liked how he portrayed himeself and his world around and within him. It was a small slice of his life and what it is like to be him. He doesn't profess to know how it is for everyone who is blind, much the opposite, but he does a good job in telling how it is for him. I liked the book, it was an easy read and funny in many spots. No rocket science or Oscar Wildeish quotations, b ...more
Nick Davies
Jan 13, 2016 Nick Davies rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Quite pleasant - not the most eye-opening (if you pardon the pun) book, but witty and simple and a decent enough read. In places it made me cry, but oddly this was nothing to do with blindness. I was left, however, by the suspicion that the book was more important for the author to write than it was for us to read - catharsis perchance. There were also a few clumsy moments where the author chose to use current comparisons for things that happened in the 80's and 90's, and didn't seem to get the ...more
Michael
While slow-paced and tedious at times, Knington gives good insight into the life of being blind. He also provides the read insight into the process of lost and acceptance, while veering from a traditional coming of age memoir. On top of all of this, Kington keeps a keenly close-to-chest approach to humor that keeps the story moving. Because of pace however, it took great concentration on my own part to keep plodding through this book at times.
Maggie
Aug 22, 2012 Maggie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I read this book while I was taking a memoir class. I am incredibly glad I did. Ryan Knighton has an incredible talent for humour. At times, I laughed so hard that it hurt. I've shared my favorite passages of this book with friends and family and they laughed too. While Knighton's story, about his loss of eyesight, is not an experience I can personally relate to, his theme of finding one's way despite a major obstacle, is universal.
Eciroli
Mar 27, 2012 Eciroli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very amusing yet poignant account of the author's gradual loss of sight as a teenager and young adult, his denial and his coping, and the effect the blindness has on others. As the author's awareness and understanding increases, so does the reader's (as much as a sighted person can understand the blinds' navigation through a sighted world). His attempts to pass as a sighted person are hilarious!
Jill Campbell-Miller
The only reason I gave this a 3-star review instead of a four is because the structure was a little strange - it felt like a memoir for the first half of the book, then it changed into independent essays. I felt like it could have been more cohesive. However, I would definitely recommend it. It is a fascinating insight into the life of blindness, and what it is like to transition from sightedness to blindness.
John
Jul 21, 2009 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I agree pretty much with Barbara's review except that I'm not as generous with the 5th star. I've never read a book that gives the reader some insight into the life of someone that is going blind to being 99% blind by the end of the book. Knighton points out things that are problems for the blind that wouldn't occur to a sighted person - like the confusion that the spoken word "you" can cause a blind person. Very interesting and well worth reading.
janine
I am currently dancing around with my rating of it. I don't know whether this book js more befitting a 3 or a 3.5 (we all know that extra half expresses something entirely different).

I enjoyed the book and found it easy to read, after a while I felt some what disconnected. Ryan is an excellent story teller from my personal experience as his student and from the Moth bits I've listened to. However, I found his writing didn't keep me as enthused.
Shonna Froebel
Nov 17, 2012 Shonna Froebel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian
This memoir by a Langley, B.C. man who began going blind in his teens due to a degenerative condition called retinitis pigmentosa. He talks about his experience from before he knew what was happening to him to the present day. It is a fascinating look at the inner thoughts of someone going blind as well as seeing how his interactions with the world change.
This is on the short list for the Evergreen Book Award.
Jillinda
My brother has RP so this was a personal read for me. I've kind of been on a reading hiatus for a month or so and this book was still hard for me to get through. To use a sighted metaphor it was a real eye-opener. It helped me understand a little what my brother and his wife are going through as his eyes continue to deteriorate; and continues to encourage me to work and pray for a cure.

There is foul launguage.
Jsrott
Jun 26, 2013 Jsrott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really good book! Ryan Knighton recounts his life with Retinitis Pigmentosa, along the way recalling his days as a teacher in South Korea and how IKEA and Plato go together. I found a lot of insight (no pun intended) in here and it led me to a new appreciation for the "disabled." I'm looking forward to reading his next book!
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“Cash was running low, so I'd applied for a job as an administrative assistant for a nonprofit arts group. Without question, my organizational skills were as sharp as my vision, and I had no office experience to speak of. Luckily for me, none of this surfaced during the interview.

'Ryan, pretend it's a rough morning for a sec. Handle this situation for me. When you arrive at work to open the arts resource centre, several people are already at the door. Two clients want immediate help with grant applications - you know those artists, they just can't wait! - and a third wants to use our library, which isn't open till noon. Entering the office, you hear the phone is ringing and see the message light is blinking. The fax machine looks jammed again, and we're expecting an important document. Among the people waiting is a courier with a package you need to sign for. Think about it, though. The lights haven't been turned on yet, and the sign put out front. The alarm needs the code within a minute, too. So, wow, rough morning. I'd like to know what you'd do first.'

'First I'd tell everybody how weird this is. I'm in the same test situation from my job interview. What are the chances?'

I started the next day.”
1 likes
“Seeing is itself touched with elegy. Reality seems to press its light into us, it is happening, but that's not the way things are. The eye can process only so many images per second, taking in sights the way a camera takes a series of stills. The reality we see is the sketchpad comics we made as kids, me and my brothers and sister. Draw a stickman taking a step on one page, and on the next draw that same figure, only his foot is slightly further ahead, and again on the next page, draw this figure, but with his foot on the ground. Flip through them quickly, and he appears to walk. That's the mechanics of the eye, too. We think we are seeing life as it happens, but pictures are missing. Moments disappear between the stills and make up our unwitnessed lives. To see is to miss things. Loss is always with us.” 1 likes
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