A Blind Guide to Stinkville

A Blind Guide to Stinkville
Author: Beth Vrabel
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Genre: Middle-grade
ISBN: 978-1-63450-157-6
Pages: 264
Price: $16.99

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Alice was used to living in Seattle, where her near-blindness didn’t seem to be a real disability. Everyone knew her, and her best friend, Eliza, helped her get around. But now she’s living in Sinkville – or Stinkville, as she calls it, due to the odor the paper mill generates. Without Eliza to help, she needs to rely on her reluctant older brother to escort her around town. She can’t depend on her parents, since her father is too busy at his new job and her mother is suffering from severe depression.

When the Sinkville Success Stories contest is announced, Alice doesn’t think she has much to contribute. She’s only been living in Sinkville for a little while. But as she begins to talk to the residents of the town, she discovers a history she didn’t expect to encounter. Soon, she begins to see Sinkville as home. Winning the contest suddenly becomes important, but can she really find something unique and interesting to write about?

Alice is an endearing character who refuses to see herself defined by her disability. Yet she hasn’t had the opportunity to try to be self-sufficient, since she’s always had someone around to care for her needs. Now she’s forced to look at the direction her life is taking and do things differently. And as she chooses to change, she positively impacts those around her.

A Blind Guide to Stinkville is an uplifting story of personal growth at the middle-grade level. Alice is an inspiring role-model for kids, as she shows compassion for her mother’s suffering, and comes to an acceptance of her father’s decision to uproot the family for a better opportunity. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger