Girl in the Dark

Girl in the Dark

A Memoir

Book - 2015
Average Rating:
7
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Random House, Inc.
Haunting, lyrical, unforgettable, Girl in the Dark is a brave new memoir of a life without light.

Anna Lyndsey was young and ambitious and worked hard; she had just bought an apartment; she was falling in love. Then what started as a mild intolerance to certain kinds of artificial light developed into a severe sensitivity to all light.
Now, at the worst times, Anna is forced to spend months on end in a blacked-out room, where she loses herself in audiobooks and elaborate word games in an attempt to ward off despair. During periods of relative remission, she can venture out cautiously at dawn and dusk into a world that, from the perspective of her cloistered existence, is filled with remarkable beauty. And through it all there is Pete, her love and her rock, without whom her loneliness seems boundless.
One day Anna had an ordinary life, and then the unthinkable happened. But even impossible lives, she learns, endure.Girl in the Dark is a tale of an unimaginable fate that becomes a transcendent love story. It brings us to an extraordinary place from which we emerge to see the light and the world anew.

Baker & Taylor
"Anna was living a normal life. She was ambitious and worked hard; she had just bought an apartment; she was falling in love. But then she started to develop worrying symptoms: her face felt like it was burning whenever she was in front of the computer. Soon this progressed to an intolerance of fluorescent light, then of sunlight itself. The reaction soon spread to her entire body. Now, when her symptoms are at their worst she must spend months on end in a blacked-out room, losing herself in audio books and elaborate word games in an attempt to ward off despair. During periods of relative remission she can venture cautiously out at dawn and dusk, into a world which, from the perspective of her normally cloistered existence, is filled with a remarkable beauty. And throughout there is her relationship with Pete. In many ways he is Anna's savior, offering her shelter from the light in his home. But she cannot enjoy a normal life with him, cannot go out in the day, even making love is uniquely awkward. Anna asks herself "by continuing to occupy this lovely man while giving him neither children, nor a public companion, nor a welcoming home - do I do wrong?" With gorgeous, lyrical prose, Anna brings us into the dark with her, a place from which we emerge to see love, and the world, anew"--

Baker
& Taylor

Traces the author's wrenching struggles with severe light sensitivities that forced her into a cloistered existence, exploring the progression of her relationship with a man and her efforts not to limit his life.
Traces the author's wrenching struggles with severe light sensitivities, which forced her into a cloistered existence, exploring the progression of her relationship with a man and her efforts not to limit his life.

Publisher: New York : Doubleday, c2015
ISBN: 9780385539609
Branch Call Number: 616.515 LYN
Characteristics: 258 p. :,ill. ;,20 cm.

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jessica_reads
Jan 18, 2017

Disclaimer: I don't read many memoirs, so I'm not used to first person narratives and the occasional use of stilted turns of phrase. Regardless, I am glad I read this one.

Of the few I have read, they are chronologically oriented from childhood to adulthood, from the start of a job to a different and inspired career path, etc. Anna's recollection of her life starts this way, and then spirals into not only a loss of light, but a loss of the sense of time; this wasn't a concept that initially occurred to me. The narrative is broken between sets memories with various ways to keep one from going mad in nearly full darkness. It should feel disjointed and awkward, but it doesn't. It feels real.

Anna's delight, despair, and determination should incite just as much respect or inspiration as any memoir of someone overcoming or making peace with cancer or chronic illness.

Cynthia_N Sep 26, 2016

Very interesting read! I was quite surprised at the effort Lyndsey had to go to protect herself from light. There were so many things I would not have even considered. Worth the time.

r
rebmartin31
Jun 01, 2016

I'm sure there are plenty of "medical oddity" books out there. I can't think of any specific examples because I haven't read any. Primarily because they are all gimmicky. This one is NOT gimmicky. A real, startling, and beautiful account of an unimaginable circumstance. Thank God for audiobooks.
PS. This makes an interesting companion read to Emma Donoghue's Room.

JCLBryanV Dec 18, 2015

What keeps Girl in the Dark from rising above mere ‘disease of the week’ material is ultimately the quality of Lyndsey’s writing, which brings the reader breathtakingly close to the emotional, physical and social toll this ailment continues to take on the author. That’s right, despite glimpses of hope for a cure or reliable treatment, Lyndsey has written a book literally from the dark, where triumph over adversity isn’t necessarily the point. Her occasional glimpses of light are what get her through, bringing us with her into that light that we so easily take for granted. This is an essential read.

d
daysleeper236
Aug 11, 2015

A fascinating, beautiful, lyrical read.

l
lilypad_1
Jun 09, 2015

I thought she did a very good job of explaining her situation and how she copes with it. I also have a condition that is invisible to others but very debilitating. It is very difficult to explain to others what you are dealing with so that they don't think you are crazy. I wish she had a blog so I could find out how she is doing.

MedinaReads Jun 01, 2015

"Just as she is beginning her adult life, something happens to the author. She starts to have a mild sensitivity to the light from her computer screen and other forms of artificial light, which develops onto an extreme intolerance for all light. She accounts her fall into darkness, how she spends her time, and how the love and compassion of the man she eventually marries makes her condition more tolerable. She admits to thoughts of suicide, and the weight of being totally dependent on others for survival during the times she has to remain in total darkness to recover. Her vivid descriptions of things that she sees in the dark and how she copes with extreme solitude are incredibly moving. This is a great read for anyone who is intrigued by extreme conditions and delving deep into the mind of a writer." Recommended by B.M., Seville Library, MCDL

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