Even up until fifty percent or so, I thought this was going to be a horrorshow beginning to end. The truth is that despite some horrible misunderstandings of how blindness works, this wasn't that horrible.
Look, if you're blind, you don't go to unfamiliar places and keep your cane in your bag. And I understand that she's got muscle memory of the family house she hasn't been to in three years; she lived there for so long as a child, she knows it, knows how to maneuver around it because she was blind then, too. Still, it seems foolhardy at best not to have the cane out when walking over concrete that she hasn't set foot on in years - the concrete path leading to the house. What if there were cracks that she stumbled over? What if it had been damaged for some reason, and her family had been forced to replace said path? Yes, foolhardy - at best. And the lame excuse that she does things her way, and always has, and will continue to do so, dammit, doesn't really fly with me. She's embarrassed, sees blindness as a weakness, and yet... her force of will, commendable as it is, can't stop her from tripping over the unseen in unfamiliar places since she can't see. The author blithely ignores that cracks in the floor, and stairwells in a college building might be a problem. She even ignores the fact that a student might be in front of her. When she trips over people, does explaining that she's blind but doesn't want to use her cane end up being less embarrassing? What about the fact that she might be strong-willed, but she would also be almost constantly injured? How does she explain that, and are those bruises and broken bones worth her pride? I guess so. Although it doesn't seem to matter. In Clarity, Helen/Winter lives in a magical little bubble where despite being blind, tripping, falling, injuries, and death are not a problem for a woman who wants to navigate with what I can only assume is a baby radar sense. Someday, soon, she will transform into Lady Daredevil!
Sighs. That would make far more sense than this story. Even the baby radar sense. Instead, this is simply ignored, which only makes it more glaringly obvious that it's bullshit to me.
Hellen is also an awe-thor. "I pour so much of myself into those pages, that I cannot help being super sensitive to all acclaim and critique."
I don't care, Helen. I'm telling the truth here. Because this quite frankly makes me think this author will freak the fuck out over this review.
"My face immediately contorting into a frown."
Her whole face is frowning. That is an impressive frown. That is a whole lot of frowning.
"Carmen sounds dejected and upset."
And a little redundant at this point?
"Carmen makes me think of the legendary heroine in an opera."
Not well phrased - in the opera of that name. It makes me think of one: Carmen of Carmen.
"I quickly scrawl a few worlds over the inside cover of the novel."
How does the blind woman know where the cover is? Is it the same way she doesn't fall using her cane?
The doctor driving her at one point drinks before driving. It's described as "a generous helping of my wine." Did I mention he was exhausted before drinking then driving? No, I didn't? Well, I have now.
"'Books are medicine for the soul. They heal the eternal parts of a person.'"
Pat yourself on the back more, author, why don't you? Also, geez, self-insert much? This literary masterbation also makes me go, 'why, author, why?'
"'Carmen?' I say with concern, sitting straight up and at alert."
I've never seen 'at alert' used before, so that made me go 'huh.'
"It's so hard to follow social protocol when you have no idea what's going on around you. So many assumptions need to be made."
Nailed it. How can you not understand that a blind person needs to use a cane when walking in unfamiliar territory, and nail this? It's like you just wanted something to happen so forced it, without explanation, or putting yourself in the character's head. Clearly the author can do this when she tries, and uses logic, but fail on the other part?
"I can imagine eh softness of the petals and the glorious colors, in tender pastes or vibrant reds. I have no idea what these words mean, but if the flowers look anything close to the way they smell, they must be unbelievably enchanting."
Another spot where she gets some description, but you need editors because later she says:
"I see red."
You mean the word that has no meaning for you? Do you see that?
"'I actually don't have too many female friends. I can't deal with how catty and superficial they are. They're also always jealous, for one reason or another.'"
I hate how misogynistic this comes off :(
Despite that, I liked some things. Like the whole her being trapped in the car with descriptions of porn when she says no? She gets back later when she turns their light hearted bantering into a porn story, and the men act horrified. I laughed at her revenge. So I didn't hate it as much as I thought I would, but I didn't love it either.