Friday, November 22, 2013

Donald L. Vestal Reviews In the Dark on the Sunny Side

Donald L. Vestal reviews In the Dark on the Sunny Side by Larry W. Baggett as part of MAA Reviews.

On a summer day in 1944, five-year-old Larry Baggett used a paring knife to cut a string for a much-needed ammo sack for his slingshot. But, after violating the “Never cut toward yourself” rule, he accidentally sent the point of the knife into his right eye. And over the next few weeks, after multiple treatments and surgeries, he gradually lost sight in both eyes. What becomes of a blind kid in 1940s America? Does he become a jazz musician? A lawyer? A physicist?

The answer turns out to be: a math professor. In this memoir, Baggett details his path towards professorhood. But the path is not so much about the math, but about the normal and sometimes abnormal things that people go through, some of which — but not all — are unique to the blind.

As a blind child in the 40s and 50s, Baggett experienced the very beginning of the mainstreaming movement. Although his early schooling took place at the Perkins School for the Blind, for fourth grade he left the community of the blind to be educated at Gotha School.

Read the full review here.

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