I Raise My Eyes to Say Yes

Mercer Ruth Sienkiewicz, Author, Ruth Sienkiewicz-Mercer, Author, Steven B. Kaplan, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $17.45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-395-46109-9
The title of this affecting chronicle of a handicapped person's life refers to the unique method by which she first began to communicate. In early infancy, Sienkiewicz-Mercer, born in Massachusetts in 1950, contracted a disease that left her paralyzed and unable to speak and caused her to be institutionalized for 14 years, diagnosed as hopelessly disabled and profoundly retarded. That period of bedridden confinement and often callous treatment did not altogether undo the earlier nurturance and stimulation provided by her family circle. Yet her struggle to unlock her intellect was thwarted until sensitive others, including caretakers, became aware of the eloquence of her eyes and the intent of her facial grimaces. Equally as remarkable as Sienkiewicz-Mercer's story is the manner in which her ideas are now communicated, through the use of word boards, an arduous process involving the arrangement and grouping of words and numbers against varied color backgrounds, described here by coauthor Kaplan, friend and interpreter. The imagery of escape from a useless body, a ``natural concentration camp,'' pervades this inspiring account of victory over handicap. Photos not seen by PW. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1989
Release date: 08/01/1989
Genre: Nonfiction
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