By Dean Duplessis
One of the few joys of living in an incredibly demanding environment, is the pleasure of losing yourself in the pages of a book, or in my case, the voice of the narrator of an audio book. Over the years, I have built up a reasonable collection of audio books, from crime and thrillers, to historical fiction.
Technology is something I have always been slightly afraid of. That was until I bought my very first iPhone 4S back in 2012. Several of my visually impaired friends had taken the plunge from the standard Nokia phone, which had also produced a program called Talks. A very robotic sounding voice, but absolute joy for us blind folk who had to rely on sighted people to read SMS messages for us. I purchased my first iPhone with trepidation and angst. Nevertheless I began the tortuous process of changing from a phone with a keypad to a phone with a touchscreen.
My curiosity started to get the better of me and I ventured out of my comfort zone, and immediately discovered an App called Audible. This isn’t an App that was designed for visually impaired people, as there are millions of people who love listening to an audio book, when walking the dog doing the laundry, or commuting to and from work. My world was instantly transformed into a playground of joy as I chose authors I liked, such as Wilbur Smith, Martina Cole Karin Slaughter. I also discovered new authors, such as Conn Iggulden, Ben Kane, Bernard Cornwall, Stephen Leather, and could also revert to my bed-time favourites, such as James Herriot.
The Extraordinary life of Sam Hell, by Robert Dugoni
I am currently reading a deeply moving book about a young boy who was born with a rare condition which caused the colour of his eyes to be red from birth. Despite Sam Hill, the main protagonist book being constantly bullied and ridiculed, he had a circle of very close friends. Ernie, who was the school’s first black student, and Micky, short for Michaela, who also goes into business with him.
STAR RATING out of 5 : *
WHO SHOULD READ THIS BOOK: This book would resonate with a person who may be perceived to be abnormal or different. The person who may not have been the best looking or most popular in their social group. If you can relate to being discriminated against because of language or background differences then you can relate to Sam Hell. It speaks of the power of the love of family and the importance of true friendship in a world that can often be cruel.
Narrated by the author, the book reminds us that there is always an opportunity to use what you have to the best of your opportunity. I love this book, because Sam Hill, who then becomes Sam Hell or Devil Boy, reminds me a lot of myself. And that is the power of a good book. Allowing you to see yourself in the stories of the characters.
Dean Duplessis is the world’s first and only blind cricket analyst, commentator and journalist. Dean was born with tumours behind both retinas, destroying his eyesight before birth. Dean started his love affair with cricket in 1991 when South Africa was readmitted into the international cricketing fraternity and he was a student at boarding school in Worcester, South Africa. His favourite rock band is Def Leppard and when he was in school always said he would start his own group called Blind Cheetah!
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