My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publication Date: October 6th 2015
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 8+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, Friendship, Disability, Albinism
Before Stinkville, Alice didn’t think albinism—or the blindness that goes with it—was a big deal. Sure, she uses a magnifier to read books. And a cane keeps her from bruising her hips on tables. Putting on sunscreen and always wearing a hat are just part of life. But life has always been like this for Alice. Until Stinkville.
For the first time in her life, Alice feels different—like she’s at a disadvantage. Back in her old neighborhood in Seattle, everyone knew Alice, and Alice knew her way around. In Stinkville, Alice finds herself floundering—she can’t even get to the library on her own. But when her parents start looking into schools for the blind, Alice takes a stand. She’s going to show them—and herself—that blindness is just a part of who she is, not all that she can be. To prove it, Alice enters the Stinkville Success Stories essay contest. No one, not even her new friend Kerica, believes she can scout out her new town’s stories and write the essay by herself. The funny thing is, as Alice confronts her own blindness, everyone else seems to see her for the first time.
Never have I read a book about albinism before, so I didn’t know exactly what to except of ‘‘A Blind Guide to Stinkville.’’
In fact my expectations were pretty limited, yet Beth Vrabel blew them away anyway with her incredibly charming characters, witty dialogs and authentic writing style for middle grade readers.
I knew very little about albinism before and what it meant – once upon a time, I actually thought it was something that was invented to add supernatural elements to a story. Yes, I found albinos too fascinating to think that they might actually exist.
BUT NOW, I’m quite familiar with the condition. Alice is an albino: she has white skin, white hair and blue, blue eyes. Also, she is blind. Well not exactly. She isn’t 100% blind, but 90%, rather. Therefore, she depends on her parents, her brother and her dog to move from one place from another.
However, as Alice learns to cope with moving to Sinkville and leaving her best friend behind, she discovers new things about her new town and new people worth building a relationship with that make her not miss her old house too much. Moreover, Alice learns to be more independent, understanding, compassionate and, ultimately, aware of the different between ‘‘need’’ and ‘‘want.’’
I really have nothing negative to say about this book. It is indeed short, but that’s not a problem in itself. It explores so many important topics and themes that I wish this had gotten more attention than this, because it deserves it. My only complain, if you can call it that, is how little humour it contained, because I pictured Alice as being a witty girl full of humorous thoughts, although maybe a bit sarcastic also, but it’s more intense than humorous, to be honest, which makes absolute sense.
I look extremely forward to the sequel/companion novel.
Follow me on: