by C C Johannes Peet
From despair and depression to hope and new directions.
Peet’s misfortunes began with the onset of blindness caused by Stargardt’s disease, a form of macular degeneration. He was 42 years old and a wine expert and winemaker. Within 6 years he was legally blind.
In Adrift in the Fog he recounts his frustration at not being able to fend for himself and how easily he was taken advantage of by his would-be carer. He tells of the bleak depths of his subsequent depression, bordering on suicidal.
When it seems his life can’t get any worse the New Zealand Blind Foundation come to his aid with special computer software and gadgets and he gradually emerges from his depression and begins to take an interest in life again. He inadvertently joins a computer dating site and almost as an afterthought takes a second look at a photo of the Russian woman he now calls his Mona Lisa. He’s in his mid-50s by now, legally blind, struggling on a disability benefit and understandably full of misgivings about himself. Thanks to Mona Lisa he is back on an optimistic, upward curve.
With unflinching honesty, blind, and writing in his second language, he shares his most intimate feelings as the relationship develops.
Peet’s blindness aside, I feel many people, women as well as men, will be able to identify with his story of embarking on a new relationship in middle-age – an experience that is further complicated by issues of mental health and alcohol misuse.
Adrift in the Fog is, in spite of its gloomy title and muted cover, an inspiring read. The author comes to terms with himself. Defying his blindness and the dramatic changes that it has brought to his life, he re-finds himself and rediscovers a sense of optimism and of self.
Peet writes in a straightforward, no-nonsense style, making Adrift in the Fog an easy read. The ending leaves us wondering What next? so there is scope here for more of Peet’s engaging story telling. Discerning readers will pick up on proofreading oversights, but these shouldn’t interfere with an appreciation of Peet’s story.
Writer, freelance proofreader, copy editor, & translator from Italian to English.
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Author: C C Johannes Peet
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