Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Book Review: Focus - A Memoir

by: Ingrid Ricks

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

In her powerful memoir FOCUS, Ingrid Ricks delves into the shock of discovering at age thirty-seven that she was in the advanced stages of Retinitis Pigmentosa, a devastating degenerative eye disease that doctors said would eventually steal her remaining eyesight. FOCUS takes readers into Ingrid’s world as she faces the crippling fear of not being able to see her two young daughters grow up, of becoming a burden to her husband, of losing the career she loves, and of being robbed of the independence that defines her.

Ultimately, FOCUS is about Ingrid’s quest to fix her eyes that ends up fixing her life. Through an eight-year journey marked by a trip to South Africa to write about AIDS orphans, a four-day visit with a doctor who focuses on whole-body health, a relationship-changing confrontation with her husband and a life-changing lesson from her daughters, Ingrid learns to embrace the moment and see what counts—something no amount of vision loss can take from her.

When I reviewed Hippie Boy, I told you I didn't even know it was a true story until I had finished reading it. Ingrid really does have a flair for words. She came to me and asked if I'd like to review it. I remembered her and knew for a fact I would love to read anything she writes. So here we are. And if you come back on Friday, she has sent along a guest post and a giveaway of her book Focus.

So, back to the book. Ingrid is writing about her degenerative eye disease, Retinitis Pigmentosa - which I'd never heard of before. She was going blind, slowly. And I wonder if that's worse. You are constantly aware of your field of vision getting smaller and smaller by degrees. She really does paint a vivid picture of the roller coaster of emotions.

Well, like most strong women, she wasn't willing to just accept the diagnosis and crawl into a corner. Her husband started problem solving and they moved into the city she she could use public transportation for anything she couldn't walk to. And she found a new doctor with alternative treatments. While it didn't cure her eyes, she did really come so much further than her journey through her childhood.

The fun thing in this book was reading about her desire to finish her memoir, Hippie Boy. She kept putting it off until her whole family was sick of hearing about it. There was a scene where her daughters were pretending to be her as an old woman saying, "My book! I need to finish my book!" and it was like a slap in the face. And then she made it happen. I'm glad she did, it was so good.

The not so comfortable bits were seeing things that I do that aren't helping me in my life there in print form. This memoir will make you laugh, cry, and think...much more than you probably want to. But it's totally worth the time and effort. And really, it's not much time. This woman has a way of grabbing you by the eyes and holding on until she's ready to let go.

I freaked out when I had forgotten the timeline I promised to review it in. I started reading it on Tuesday night. I finished it Wednesday morning during my workout. Seriously, like 2 hours. While I get that it's only 100 pages long, that time still went by incredibly fast - not a boring moment in here. And a funny little twist, she also talked about stem cells. She needs to talk to Amy from Monday! lol


  1. I could not imagine losing my eyesight. What a strong and courageous woman. Her book sounds spellbinding. Warmest hugs sweetie. Mina

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