Reviewed by Ankita Shukla for Readers’ Favorite
To say that A Woman Of Vision: A True Story of Courage, Determination, and Vivid Blindness by Joanna Rivera Stark is anything less than an experience worth treasuring would be the understatement of the century. Having lived a life of over ninety years, Betty knew that she wanted to share her story with a wide audience, and that is when she contacted her friend, Joanna. During her last days, Betty and Joanna flipped the pages of her journey to show the world that no hardship has the power to hold one down. Having been diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at the age of only eighteen months, Betty began gradually losing her vision. Even with her impaired vision, her life never lacked color.
She was born in poverty, but she did not let her financial or medical condition define her. She had an inner urge to be accepted like everybody else. Instead of wallowing in pity, she relied on her excellent musical talents and communication skills to reach a stable position. From the age of three, she began singing at various events to help her parents get on their feet. When her father started a fruitcake business, she became his helping hand. Throughout her life, she believed in moving forward. Life threw hurdles her way, but she brushed those off through her love for making a difference in the world. Not only did she keep herself upbeat most of the time, she invested her energy in motivating others to do the same.
Reading the synopsis of A Woman Of Vision: A True Story of Courage, Determination, and Vivid Blindness, one might be compelled to anticipate this as a slow read. I, as a reader, had expected that the pages of this book would be filled with grief and the hardships that Betty went through due to her medical condition. However, right from the first chapter, the author proved me absolutely wrong. When destiny denied Betty the ability to see colors, she filled her life with bright shades of travel, relationships, humor, and love. Joanna has done a fascinating job of capturing the essence of Betty’s life in words. She went out of her way and added many pictures from Betty’s life. These pictures made an instant connection with me, and I felt that I had known Betty forever. Betty never hid behind her medical condition and wished to be just like everybody else. Reading about her life, one dare not define her by her disease. To me, Betty Clark Mong was larger than life. I not only applaud the author for writing an outstanding memoir, but I envy her for knowing this astonishing lady.