Book Review of “Touching the Rock” by John Hull
Review by Danyel Goldsmith
Let me just say that this book should be required reading for anyone who knows, cares about, or loves someone who has lost their vision. The author recorded situations, dreams, philosophies, and experiences over a three-year period and put them into a series of essays. Organized sequentially, the book takes place between 1984 and 1986. If you are thinking that it may be dated, this is not the case. There are mentions of how he listens to and records to cassette, but that is to be expected. The author is a professor of religious education and his writing style reflects a professorial academia tone. This does not take away or add to its content; it just makes the reader pay attention all the more.
This is not light reading and there are times when it gets so close to home that the blind reader may thing the author interviewed them for this book even though it is autobiographical. The book is full of emotion, intellectual humor, and practical rationalization. Because of his deep religious beliefs, there are scriptural references, quotes, and this comforts him. Touching the Rock is thought provoking and best read in quiet moments, perhaps at the beginning or the end of the day. It should not be rushed through and should be used as reference as the blind reader passes with time to better understand how time makes one think about his or her own blindness. If the blind reader ever was at a loss for naming an emotion or situation, this author puts a name to it. For a sighted reader, the book may be a conversation starter and will most definitely allow the reader into a blind man’s greatest sadness and ultimately his acceptance.