Rummanah Aasi

Description: Before Stinkville, Alice didn't think albinism--or the blindness that goes with it--was a big deal. Sure, she uses a magnifier to read books. And a cane keeps her from bruising her hips on tables. Putting on sunscreen and always wearing a hat are just part of life. But life has always been like this for Alice. Until Stinkville. For the first time in her life, Alice feels different--like she's at a disadvantage. Back in her old neighborhood in Seattle, everyone knew Alice, and Alice knew her way around.
  In Stinkville, Alice finds herself floundering--she can't even get to the library on her own. But when her parents start looking into schools for the blind, Alice takes a stand. She's going to show them--and herself--that blindness is just a part of who she is, not all that she can be. To prove it, Alice enters the Stinkville Success Stories essay contest. No one, not even her new friend Kerica, believes she can scout out her new town's stories and write the essay by herself. The funny thing is, as Alice confronts her own blindness, everyone else seems to see her for the first time.

Review: Alice was born with albinism and has only 20/200 vision with glasses. When she was at home in Seattle, Washington, her disability was well known and accepted. She had her best friend to help guide her, she knew everyone and knew her way around. Now that her dad got a new job and the family had to move to Sinkville aka Stinkvile, South Carolina, Alice is struggling in her new setting. She has no friends, doesn't know her way around her neighborhood, and her family is too busy coping with their own problems to help her. Alice must find her own way and be self reliant. When a writing contest offers her a chance to prove she can do anything, Alice and her dog, Tooter, set out to find their own place in their new home.
  I really liked Alice's narrative voice. She is a realistic tween who felt very down to earth and self aware. I also enjoyed her slowly falling in love with Stinkville, particularly with its residents who she easily warmed up to and help her realize the city's goodness. Although some of the characters such as the waitress who knows everyone, the wise yet stubborn senior citizen that Alice befriends, and a bully that is covering up her own shortcoming feel one dimensional, but they all help Alice along the way. I also appreciated the inclusion and mixture of humor with serious topics like depression, disability, and old age. Alice is not confined to her disability, but rather on a journey of independence, compromise, and accepting help when it is needed. Blind Guide to Stinkville would be a good choice for young readers who enjoy reading realistic fiction with a touch of humor.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is a sick pet in the story. Recommended for Grades 4 and up.

If you like this book try: Blind Guide to Normal by Beth Vrabel
4 Responses
  1. Oh you had me at humor. I also love it when a character isn't defined by the disability but uses it to grow as a human. This sounds good!

  2. I don’t know anything about albinism, so that intriuges me, but the sick pet makes me sad....

  3. I like it when books use a difficult issue or topic, or one most people don't know much about, to tell a story.

  4. Kindlemom Says:

    I love that this had deeper thoughts and issues in it, especially with the age group this is targeted for. Definitely need more reads like this one. Wonderful review!

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