Eric Lindstrom’s ground-breaking debut novel, ‘Not If I See You First’, tells the story of Parker, a blind protagonist coping with the recent death of her father on top of the merging of her local high school with another. It’s a tale of friendship, trust and seeing things a little differently. Keep reading to find out what MP!er Miriam thought of it.
Have you ever read a book before, where the main character is blind or, more widely, has a disability? I have never read a book where the main character is blind. Therefore, I think the perspective was really interesting considering the book is told from the POV of Parker, who is blind. I have read books before where the main character(s) has a disability such as ‘One’ by Sarah Crossan (Grace and Tippi are conjoined twins) and ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time’ by Mark Haddon (Christopher shows signs of autism).
Parker has a list of rules that the people around her need to follow, although she reconsiders them as she goes along. What did you think of these? Although I think Parker was right to reconsider her views, I did understand why she had the rules. Following most of the rules was only common sense. However, I can’t imagine why anyone would ever want to deceive someone because they are blind or treat them like they didn’t know anything. In the end I think it was good idea to change that the rule she did.
Was there anything about Parker’s life you found particularly surprising? What I found very surprising, as the book is told in first person, was how good Parker is at adapting to her blindness . Despite not being able to see, she finds ingenious ways to get along with her life. I also loved that you could learn so much about the characters and imagine them so well without having a visual description of them, which shows how there is much more to characterisation than looks.
If you had to recommend this book to a friend, what would be the best thing you’d tell them? e.g. writing, humour, characterisation, plot etc. If I were to recommend this book to a friend (which I certainly would), I would say the best thing about it was the humour and the new perspective it gave me. Although Parker’s life was very sad, the book itself had lots of humorous moments. The dry wit and sarcasm of Parker reminded me of friends I have, as well as other fictional characters including Eleanor from ‘Eleanor and Park’.
I also loved the insight into the life of someone blind as I have not read this in a book before. No-one I know is blind either so it was very interesting to learn about what it would be like.
Did you have a favourite character? Tell us why! My favourite character was probably Parker. She was such a brilliantly strong female character with an amazing sense of independence and free will. People attempt to undermine her or pity her yet Parker still stands on her own two feet. I think Parker is a character we could all aspire to be.
Can you remember your favourite line or scene? “If we don’t get prom dates, we’re going together. We’re going to each other’s weddings. We’re going to get drunk and complain about our husbands. When we get divorced we’re moving in with each other to get back on our feet and find better guys. We’re driving each other to chemo when we’re seventy.” – I feel like this quote perfectly describes friendship.
Another passage I liked was: “He doesn’t have a crush on you or just want to get in your pants or think you’re better than nothing. He loves you.”
Rate out of 10. 9- I loved this book!
If you want to check out some more book reviews from Miriam head over to her blog, Miriam Is Reading!
Have you read ‘Not If I See You First’? Tell us what you thought at @maximumpopbooks.
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