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Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 235 pages
"You better start learning Braille now" were the sole words of consolation a twelve-year-old Jim Knipfel received from an errant uncle at his grandmother's funeral.

It would be more than ten years before medical science confirmed the uncle's prophecy. It was only then that doctors discovered the author's nearsightedness was the result of an untreatable eye disorder. Furthermore, they informed Knipfel that the severe depression and emotional free-for-all he was experiencing was being caused by an inoperable brain lesion.

In a touching and sometimes bizarre memoir, Knipfel maintains a unique, absurdist perspective in recalling a life over-run with a cast of characters including neurologists, newspaper editors, murderous punk rockers, optometrists, bartenders, social workers, and friends and family who looked on as an innocent, young man from the Midwest was driven helplessly mad and became incurably blind.

Now a staff writer at the New York Press, where his biweekly column "Slackjaw" appears, Jim Knipfel has survived the effects of a collapsing retina and a damaged brain, and has learned to keep "a dying eye open" to the outlandish things that befall each of us and how we manage to survive them.

An inspiring and darkly comic book, Slackjaw is an enthralling memoir about enduring in a world where nothing seemingly ever goes right, for anyone.

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User Review  - m.belljackson - LibraryThing

Memoir of a boy becoming a man who slowly grows almost completely blind. It's an amazing story, alternately compelling and slow-moving, as the author winds through fear, anger, hatred, drugs, alcohol ... Read full review

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User Review  - Mrs_McGreevy - LibraryThing

Jim Knipfel is a madman. Legally blind, suicidally depressed, subject to manic rages, and funny as hell, Knipfel is unique in the annals of “living with disabilities” books. He avoids both of the ... Read full review


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About the author (1999)

Jim Knipfel is a staff writer and columnist for New York Press.

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