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Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite
In Seeing Eye Girl: A Memoir of Madness, Resilience, and Hope by Beverly J. Armento, the author remembers the time when she was the eyes and ears of her blind mother. Beverly’s Italian father abandoned her, her sister Sharon, and her mother. While her mother got married to Ron Radzai and gave birth to two boys (who had the same eye disease), Beverly was the only one who bore the brunt of her mother’s anger and wrath. Taking charge of the house and braving the physical and verbal abuse of her mother, Beverly was a good daughter. Beverly dreamed of a release from the prison that was policed by her abusive mother. However, the promise of a better future, with a college education and a good career were all Beverly needed to break the shackles and stand up for herself.
Seeing Eye Girl is a collection of memories and hardships Beverly Armento went through. The person who was supposed to love her unconditionally was the one who made Beverly’s life miserable. The narrative was powerful. I was surprised by how 'silent' the story was. After a couple of chapters, I realized that was because Beverly didn’t want to draw attention to herself. Every sound needed to be heard with utmost focus and that showed how scared Beverly was at home. The hardships of growing up in a home where the abusive mother needed no excuse to torture Beverly were almost too much at times. I loved the “Strong Beverly,” who was intelligent and had friends. The author took us through the years of her life as she learned to live only for herself, asked questions even though she didn’t have any answers, and gave an opening for readers to look for answers. This unforgettable personal journey will make you tear up but feel absolutely proud of her at the same time. Heartbreaking yet so empowering!