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A Patch of Blue

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,017 ratings  ·  119 reviews
A blind young woman momentarily escapes the sordid world of her prostitute mother when a young Black befriends her in the park.
Paperback, 142 pages
Published April 13th 1988 by Warner Books (NY) (first published 1961)
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Laureen Too long ago to remember - I saw the movie when I was a young teenager and read the book when I was 69. They were both excellent as far as I can remem…moreToo long ago to remember - I saw the movie when I was a young teenager and read the book when I was 69. They were both excellent as far as I can remember.(less)

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Average rating 3.92  · 
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Jul 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
About 50 years ago, when I was in my teens, I saw a movie called "A Patch of Blue" staring a young, extremely handsome Sydney Poitier. He befriended a blind white girl. Enough said. I have loved Sydney Poitier ever since as an actor. While choosing my books on Goodreads, I decided to read some books that I have seen and liked as movies when I was young and not so interested in reading.

This novel broke my heart all over again. While reading it, I could see Sydney as if it was yesterday; that ende
Mar 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone.
"Sleena, you blind tomato!" Who could ever forget Selena's evil mother and feckless grandfather drunk and berating her? Though now I can't remember if she was actually the mother or aunt. This is a remarkable story of a young blind woman (blinded in a horrible accident) kept sheltered by her ignorant, and yes, evil, guardians. Selena, finally allowed by her keepers to be escorted to a park to do bead work (her occupation)meets a young black doctor. When he figures out the reality of Selena's sit ...more
May 11, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, fiction, 2004
3 and 1/2 stars

Sleena (or Selina) remembers the color Blue from the sky which she gazed at for hours on end up until the event which took colors from her life. She knows Red too. It is the color of the man's blood; the man slashed by her father, Harry's knife when he caught him with her mother, Rose-Ann. The only other color Sleena knows is Black, which is the color of her world now, blinded as she was left when Rose-Ann attempted to throw acid at Harry and missed. Instead, the acid left her dau
Jun 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
At first glace, I hated this book. It did not hold my interest at all, and I did not appreciate the way my freshman english teacher shoved it down my throat. Every word was digested by force. I held no pity, nor passion for Selena or Gordon. The mother and the aunt bored me. And, I couldn't care less about Oh Mr. Faber. It bothered me quite a bit that many of my fellow classmates couldn't read aloud as fast as I, because I just wanted to finish the book, complete the review, pass the test and mo ...more
Christy Stewart
Apr 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Oh my God.

Tears. Tears.

Kata is an amazing writer and I will be mourning this book until I die or get amnesia.
Aug 19, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Manipulative melodrama. Kata piles on the hardships: prostitute mother, a murderer for a father, alcoholic grandfather, abuse, rape at the hands of one of her mother's clients, poverty, isolation, boring work, constant insults, the prospect of being forced into prostitution with men who get off on having sex with a blind girl. Did I mention she's blind? But she's untouched by all the sordid reality of her life. Because she's pure in heart. We know she's pure in heart because she's blind. And blo ...more
Aug 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommendations
I don't know why I enjoy them so much, but this was another one of those "painful to read" books that I enjoy so much! It's so sadly realistic. People really feel and act that way.
Neil Schleifer
Jun 27, 2010 rated it liked it
A great character study of a young blind girl being raised by her abusive mother and alcoholic grandfather in the 1960's and how one man can make a difference in the life of someone else.

This is the source material of an equally wonderful film. The book is told from the perspective of "Sleena" (that's how her drunken guardian's pronounce her name -- Selina", an 18 y/o girl who was blinded by her mother in a domestic abuse incident when she was 8. Kata captures Sleena's voice beautifully -- resig
Sep 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
When I first started reading "A Patch of Blue", I didnt like it very much. But slowly it started to grow on me. The story takes place in an un-named big city in a poor district. The time is also hard to tell. It does not say for sure but there is alot of open racism so I am guessing it is in the time when blacks were hated. The main character or the narrorator is a young lady at age 18. You slowly find out that she is blind and has been a majority of her life. But she still can remember what som ...more
Jan Priddy
May 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I saw the film and then found and read the novel. It was brilliant.
Feb 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
I’ll admit I was a little skeptical about reading this book, but once I got into it I literally couldn’t put it down! (And for those who know me, will know that although I read a lot of books there are very very few that I actually like)

What I liked best about this novel is the structure and imagery of the story and the over exaggerated character interactions in various parts actually help create the imagery in our heads.

This book talks about racism in the late 60s and class structure in that er
A.M.G. ☮Hippie/Fantasia☮
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Rating: 4.2 / 5

I loved this book quite profoundly...until the ending, which was depressing.

Having seen the movie first, I made comparisons. The movie adaptation is quite faithful to the book, except in the ending, which is a little more hopeful. Personally, while I can see how the ending does express a moral message as well, the movie accomplished the same feat with a much less heartbreaking ending.

If not for that minor detail, I would have given the book a full 5/5 stars, and perhaps even put i
Allison Renner
Sep 16, 2012 rated it liked it
If any book should be sold without a cover image and blurb, it's this one. I initially read it back in high school, ignored the blurb on the advice of the teacher, and was surprised by the twist ending. The twist ending is the best part of the book, I feel like it's crucial to the story if the reader is as blind as Selina, the main character. Without being surprised by the end, the book is still interesting, but very depressing. That's all I'll say about it, in hopes you haven't yet read the boo ...more
Dec 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I read this at fourteen, I think, and absolutely loved it. Of course, at that age, I loved everything I read! I'm much more cynical now.

It's the story of a very poor, abused, blind girl and her first love. I wish the goodreads synopsis (and book cover!) didn't reveal any more than that, because the late revelation had such an impact on me. I would want other teenage girls to read the book in just the same way. (Yes, I know it was made into a rather famous movie).

I like the idea of the story of a young black man befriending a blind white girl and liberating her so to speak so she can experience the outside world, but this was just too depressing for me and a bit manipulative. In addition, I couldn't help thinking about Shelley Winters over-the-top performance as the mother. Like the book, I like the film, if only for the scenes with Elizabeth Hartman and Sidney Poitier. Thank goodness this book is short because I couldn't take too much more of it.
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a depressing novel that skewers racism in one sense but more broadly the collective craziness and seemingly infinite human capacity for discrimination and division. The book cleverly weaves a story around the message that many of us take solace in generating a sense of self worth, by pushing other people below us rather than the more challenging effort of actually raising ourselves up.

Originally known as "Be Ready with Bells and Drums", the book became A Patch of Blue after the successfu
Lauren Hackbarth
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
I don't normally pick up love stories, but I just couldn't help myself with this one when I saw it at a book sale. I found it simple and complex at the same time. My heart goes out to the main character, Selina. There is just something about a person that has to endure a filthy lifestyle and is forced to play a part they never wanted or asked for that just gets to me. She was not made for this ("this" being a drunken household, a whore for a mother, being used and unappreciated, and being verbal ...more
Adelaide Metzger
Holy God! This almost--ALMOST got 5 stars and beyond from me!!! Why? Why the HELL did it end that way?! I am so effing mad right now!


Okay. Regular stuff out of the way first.

I was so into this book. This was an excellent book. Every time I opened it I was completely immersed into the character of Selina. This is my first time looking through the eyes of a blind character and I was just enveloped by how she saw the world and how I, as the reader, could identify what was really happening even
Jan 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people with an open mind
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Sleena is a young girl that has been blind for years. Her disability was caused by accident, her mother accidentally spilled acid into her eyes while she was trying to defend herself from Sleena’s father. She has been blind forever since.
She lives with her mother and grandfather. She doesn’t really get along with her mother because of the fact she is always blaming Sleena for her problems.
She does not have any friends and she never gets to go out of her house. She is always working around the ho
Theophilus (Theo)
Aug 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful love story. Selena, a blind girl grows up in what must be one of the most dysfunctional family there ever was. She is abused and brutalized by her mother. She grows up and finds love in Gordon, an up and coming young doctor. In this case, love is blind. She doesn't know that Gordon is black. He visits her in the park where she is dropped off by her drunken grandfather every day to string beads for a kindly merchant/neighbor to sell. Gordon takes her to his apartment and introduces he ...more
Jake Brown
Sep 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone that likes sad storys with a chance for a happy ending
A Patch of Blue is a book about a blind girl named Salina whos eyes were burned by acid accidently during a fight between her mother and father. everyday is more torture for her not knowing what anything looks like other then a few colors. Red was the last color she saw as her father killed her mother's "friend". Black is the color she is forced to always have in front of her. And blue is the color of the sky which she remembers so dearly.

During the story we find that her mother is a prostitute
Oct 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Katie by: my mom
This is my favorite book, because my mom gave it to me as a gift when was 9 and I've read it a bunch of times. This is a book I reflect on often and will always cherish. I still have my original copy! A Patch of Blue is story about a blind girl in the 60's, who lives with her prostitute mother and alcoholic grandfather. She meets a black man in the park and falls in love with him. She is racist, due to the times and what she has been taught by her mother and grandfather. She does not know that t ...more
Feb 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Not a smiley story -- about the degraded and harsh life of a young blind woman who falls in love with a stranger she meets one day in the park.
Sally Poyzer
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written, heart breaking story
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, fiction
When I like a book, I want to know as much as I can about the author, the reception of the book, how the book came to be what it is, surrounding influences.... everything and anything. I enjoyed A Patch of Blue (originally titled Be Ready for the Bells and Drums) very much. But my 'research' into this book (ie. My thumbs rapidly plunking away a google search on my phone) comes up pretty short.

Elizabeth Kata was an Australian writer, married a Japanese pianist, lived in Japan for 10 years, some o
Jane Irish Nelson
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, contemporary
Tolerance. Will we ever achieve it? Selina has been blind for years, with little hope of a better life. But an unexpected visit to the park changes everything. There she meets Gordon, and falls in love. But for the reader, knowing what will come, the story is heartbreaking. I first read this when I was about sixteen, and I don't think I fully understood it then. It is surprisingly short, but very powerful. Recommended.
Megan Montgomery
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I would have never heard of this book unless I had seen the film. The details in the book cannot compare to that on the screen. I very much enjoyed the point of view from the mind's eye, versus the visual eye, which is really where we need to be for this story. I will say that this book isn't as happy, but is definitely worth a read in today's climate.
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have always loved the film based on this novel, starring Sidney Poitier; I really loved the novel as well, especially Gordon’s character. The ending in the book was not as pleasing as the film’s ending (and I always thought the film’s ending a little wanting), but the novel’s might be more thought-provoking and’s definitely more sad and violent.
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I watched this movie on DVD, I just knew I would love the book version as well! Truly a classic! Selina may be blind, but readers could see the pain of her life transcend before each page. Readers will root for her and her special bond with Gordon, showing that love truly (in a positive sense, not a negative) is blind. But sadly not everyone from the 60s, heck even now, can understand that love is love no matter what color.
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Arters AP Literat...: A Patch of Blue 6 1 May 09, 2017 06:05PM  
A lesson that the blind see more than the sighted 4 15 Jul 29, 2012 09:15PM  

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Elizabeth Katayama (1912 – 4 September 1998) was an Australian writer under the pseudonym Elizabeth Kata, best known for Be Ready with Bells and Drums (1961), which was made into the award-winning film A Patch of Blue (1965).

She was born of Scottish parents in Sydney in 1912. After marrying a Japanese man named Katayama in 1937, she lived for ten years in Japan. During the last years of World War

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