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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for Focus - A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Camie

    This short book about Ingrid Ricks and the shocking diagnosis of Retinitis Pigmentosa( the degenerative eye disease that will eventually render her blind) she receives at age 37 , was of special interest to me for several reasons. First of all this author grew up very near where I now live in my local historic neighborhood. After reading her memoir Hippie Boy, I was shocked to learn about the poverty and hardship she grew up in as compared to my middle class but far different upbringing in what This short book about Ingrid Ricks and the shocking diagnosis of Retinitis Pigmentosa( the degenerative eye disease that will eventually render her blind) she receives at age 37 , was of special interest to me for several reasons. First of all this author grew up very near where I now live in my local historic neighborhood. After reading her memoir Hippie Boy, I was shocked to learn about the poverty and hardship she grew up in as compared to my middle class but far different upbringing in what was then just across town. Secondly both my daughter and myself have also both been diagnosed with some non life threatening chronic illnesses, that are nevertheless life changing. It is always helpful when trying to deal with your own problems, to learn of others who are also trying to come to grips with their own adversity. Rick's work with the plight of African children diagnosed with the HIV virus has been very helpful in her acceptance of her disability and is something most of us can learn from. 4 stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Karraker

    This was an interesting look at a woman's emotional journey as she faces her rapid loss of sight. It almost reminded me of Kubler-Ross's description of the stages of death: shock, anger, bargaining, withdrawal, and then acceptance. Ricks initially seems to be in denial about the severity of her medical condition. Because of her busy life with work and family, she doesn't notice the deterioration and makes excuses for it. She lashes out at the doctors who try to give her an honest assessment, and This was an interesting look at a woman's emotional journey as she faces her rapid loss of sight. It almost reminded me of Kubler-Ross's description of the stages of death: shock, anger, bargaining, withdrawal, and then acceptance. Ricks initially seems to be in denial about the severity of her medical condition. Because of her busy life with work and family, she doesn't notice the deterioration and makes excuses for it. She lashes out at the doctors who try to give her an honest assessment, and she tries to hide her condition from her friends and colleagues. I found it hard to like her or even feel empathy for her because she pushes away the very people who care about her and could help her. Her husband makes an insightful comment: the greatest fear is having to depend on and trust him. Through this psychological journey, she begins to deal with her past and recognizes that she builds walls around herself and insulates herself from others, depending totally on herself for everything, yet blaming others when things don't go her way. Yet now she is finding that she isn't the all sufficient person she thought she was and had hoped to be. Finally as she hears her children mocking her complaints about wanting to write a book, she realizes that it's time to accept help from others and begin to do the things she's been wanting to do for years. So in a sense, her approaching blindness enables her to fulfill her dreams, though not in the way she anticipated. Again, I didn't find this character very likable--she seemed totally self-absorbed and self-focused, which I guess would be true facing such a dramatic change in her life. However, for once, I hoped to hear her talk about her appreciation for her husband and his patience with her, her sadness over not being able to do things for her children (not just "I won't see them get married.") Hopefully in her journey, she will learn to accept help from others and find the joy in focusing on others vs. self.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Whetzel

    This book is a nice, quick read about the author becoming blind due to a disease. I liked this as I could somewhat relate since I have Lupus. No, I am not blind but I know what it is like to be labeled with a disease. And I know what it's like to have to give up things even though you don't want to but are forced to. One thing Ingrid tries to focus on is to "live in the now (present)." After 13 years, I am still trying to master that act.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Áine

    "Blind people terrified me. Every tap of their white cane or movement of their seeing-eye dog reminded me that they'd been robbed." So, Ingrid Ricks tells her story, in Focus A Memoir, of Retinitis Pigmentosa and its steady encroachment on her sight over a period of eight years. It could easily have been a story of a severely curtailed life. But it is not. It is a story not just of coping, not just of surviving, but of really thriving and growing into middle age the way all of us might wish to do "Blind people terrified me. Every tap of their white cane or movement of their seeing-eye dog reminded me that they'd been robbed." So, Ingrid Ricks tells her story, in Focus A Memoir, of Retinitis Pigmentosa and its steady encroachment on her sight over a period of eight years. It could easily have been a story of a severely curtailed life. But it is not. It is a story not just of coping, not just of surviving, but of really thriving and growing into middle age the way all of us might wish to do so. Ricks tells of a loving spouse willing to make compromises, of children who are helpful and perceptive, and of a strong family unit which adapts. In the process of learning to see figuratively, to look adversity squarely in the eye, Ricks transforms her career and her husband's from mere jobs to dream jobs. She meets Dr. Miller, an M.D. and naturopath, who advises a holistic approach including supplements, electrical stimulation of the eye, stress management, and maybe most importantly, settling old scores: letting go and making peace with the past. "It's like you and Dad retired early," Syd said to me recently. "I mean, it really is true because now you just do what you love to do anyway so it's really not work. That's what I want for my life." This book contains some valuable life lessons for all of us: "I've learned to go after my dreams now and not wait for a future when the money and stars line up--or when someone else gives me permission. And I've discovered that when you go after what you are truly passionate about, the Universe has a way of opening up paths for you." Her book starts in a physician's exam room, takes her to Africa "to write about children orphaned by AIDS," and ends with her having written three books, working with students, and keeping up a schedule that would tax most people with 20-20 vision. "Yeah, Mom, remember Africa."

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    This is a short read (and only $.99!) that can be taken in in one sitting, and it's a powerful and moving one at that. I was first introduced to this author through her memoir, Hippie Boy, which was also great. She has a way of writing really simple, tight prose that, despite its being so short and to-the-point, still manages to say a lot and makes you really root for her as an author and narrator/character.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sherri

    Inspirational. Liked that Ricks did not take a whiny approach and ended up finding the blessings in her disability. Only a 3 for me because it was underdeveloped - it lacked more depth of familial relationships and how the progressive disability affected her family.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dana Walters

    Very good book! You can feel that Ingrid put her heart & soul into this book! Very good book! You can feel that Ingrid put her heart & soul into this book!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Judie

    Ingrid Ricks was a journalist, marketing/PR consultant, and author. When she was in her late 30s, she was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), a degenerative eye disease. While she had 20/20 vision at a few years earlier, by age 37 she had lost her peripheral vision and became legally blind She worked to support herself and her husband, John, when he went to law school and was fiercely independent. After he graduated and joined a law firm. She took care of their two young daughters while h Ingrid Ricks was a journalist, marketing/PR consultant, and author. When she was in her late 30s, she was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), a degenerative eye disease. While she had 20/20 vision at a few years earlier, by age 37 she had lost her peripheral vision and became legally blind She worked to support herself and her husband, John, when he went to law school and was fiercely independent. After he graduated and joined a law firm. She took care of their two young daughters while he put in long hours at the office. After her diagnosis, she worried about all the things she would not be able to see, like what her daughters looked like as they grew up and what their surroundings looked like. She worried about being a burden to her husband. In FOCUS, she honestly writes about not only her reactions but that of other people towards her. She mentioned a case where an eye doctor, following a test, shook her husband’s hand but not hers. She and John realized they would have to move from the isolated area where they lived and depended on cars to get anywhere to a city where schools, shopping, and entertainment were within walking distance. When John asked his father if he could borrow money for a down payment on a home, his father questioned what would happen if John became incapacitated and Ingrid had to finish paying off the loan. “Being viewed as a helpless human being was what I feared more than anything. And it sounded like it was already happening.” She went to Africa on an assignment to report on people suffering from AIDS to help raise funds for the survivors, many of whom were orphaned children. That experience eventually helped her decide to stop feeling sorry for herself. The book continues with her search for what caused her illness (no one else in her family had it) and how to live with it, and how to treat it. She states, “I began understanding just how much the pursuit of stuff blinds us from seeing what really matters and counts in life.” She weighed the consequences of keeping her blindness hidden from other people or being proactive to educate others. Ingrid devotes considerable space to what medical professionals are doing to help people with RP as well as how to deal with the prognosis and live her life with RP. “With no peripheral vision to distract me, I’ve been forced to focus on what’s right in front of me–my family, my friends, my dreams, this moment. FOCUS can be a guide for people facing many physical and emotional problems and has some excellent insight, growth, and promise. This book was a free Amazon download.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Angela Holtz

    From Lilac Wolf and Stuff 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, Re From Lilac Wolf and Stuff 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

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Eight years ago, thirty-seven year old Ingrid went to her first ever eye appointment. She'd never had major problems with her eyes, except for occasional clumsiness, what those close to her jokingly called her extreme "tunnel vision." That day, Ingrid discovered that she really did have tunnel vision, a degenerative eye disorder medically known as legal blindness. More specifically, she had Retinitis Pigmentosa, an eye disease characterized by loss of peripheral vision. The eye specialist bluntl Eight years ago, thirty-seven year old Ingrid went to her first ever eye appointment. She'd never had major problems with her eyes, except for occasional clumsiness, what those close to her jokingly called her extreme "tunnel vision." That day, Ingrid discovered that she really did have tunnel vision, a degenerative eye disorder medically known as legal blindness. More specifically, she had Retinitis Pigmentosa, an eye disease characterized by loss of peripheral vision. The eye specialist bluntly let her know that she had no hope, that she would essentially lose all her vision in a matter of time. Focus candidly documents her response to this bleak prognosis and her journey of hope. As a person who wears glasses, this book has honestly frightened me. But it has also grounded me, in that, it allows me to question how I could ever take my vision (or anything, for that matter) for granted. It's such an evocative and shocking read that I had to put the book down when I was only a few pages in...sometimes, looking around and trying to imagine seeing my world as if looking through a dime, not being able to anticipate anything other than what is directly in front of me. It's pretty strange what we take for granted, but as always, "you never miss the water until the well runs dry." Focus is such a touching, candid, and poignant read. It is a great reminder that we are not guaranteed tomorrow or anything for that matter, but this very minute, this moment. I truly appreciate Mrs. Ricks for sharing this brave and heartfelt story, which truly resonated with me. I hope the best for her and her family. "with no peripheral vision to distract me, I've been forced to focus on what's right in front of me--my family, my friends, my dreams, this moment." -Ingrid Ricks

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jane Turner

    “The wall ran into me.” That’s what happens to Ingrid Ricks as her eyesight deteriorates to 2% of normal, according to her eye-opening new memoir, “FOCUS.” But encroaching blindness from Retinitis Pigmentosis is not something Ingrid accepts lying down. She fights it with the biggest weapon in her arsenal: denial. Unfortunately denial does not stop the progression of Ingrid’s genetic disease and when a friend refuses to let her drive carpool, the truth of her loss hits home. She decides to do eve “The wall ran into me.” That’s what happens to Ingrid Ricks as her eyesight deteriorates to 2% of normal, according to her eye-opening new memoir, “FOCUS.” But encroaching blindness from Retinitis Pigmentosis is not something Ingrid accepts lying down. She fights it with the biggest weapon in her arsenal: denial. Unfortunately denial does not stop the progression of Ingrid’s genetic disease and when a friend refuses to let her drive carpool, the truth of her loss hits home. She decides to do everything possible to limit the toll on her husband John and their two daughters by seeking out a specialist, Dr. Damon Miller, in California. Despite the financial strain the family is already under, Ingrid spends four days in treatment and with home therapy her vision improves. Slightly. But Ingrid’s biggest hole in her life is not vision. It is a lack of trust. Ingrid worries that if she gives up control - and opens up as a needy person to John and the world - then she will not be cared for. She will be as helpless as the children she once chronicled suffering from AIDS in Africa. And while fleeing from victimhood worked when Ingrid was young, now her future requires embracing vulnerability and not running away. Ingrid’s journey as her life becomes ever smaller in scope touches the universal and offers a clear look at something we all fear. And that wall Ingrid ran into? Maybe there’s a Buddhist saying that you are the wall. And by admitting so, you can move through it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Linda Martin

    This short memoir tells us what it is like to face losing the ability to see. Most of us will never go through this traumatic experience, but knowing what it feels like helps prepare us to understand and interact with vision-impaired friends and acquaintances. It could be true that every life has a tragedy. For Ingrid Ricks, it is RP, or Retinitis Pigmentosa, a disease that steals away peripheral vision until a person can see only straight ahead through a very small space. What I loved about Ingri This short memoir tells us what it is like to face losing the ability to see. Most of us will never go through this traumatic experience, but knowing what it feels like helps prepare us to understand and interact with vision-impaired friends and acquaintances. It could be true that every life has a tragedy. For Ingrid Ricks, it is RP, or Retinitis Pigmentosa, a disease that steals away peripheral vision until a person can see only straight ahead through a very small space. What I loved about Ingrid's story is that she has never given up. She didn't accept the specialist's dire prediction, and instead sought alternative treatment from a doctor with more imagination and motivation to help people in her situation. Even now she's pursuing alternative eye treatments and started a new blog at http://determinedtosee.com where she discusses treatment options for RP patients. She's also got a humanitarian side to her story. One of the chapters is about a trip to Africa to write about families afflicted with AIDS, and even now she's working to help teenagers write their own memoirs. Pretty impressive! I gave this book four stars because I reserve five star reviews for books that are truly amazing and outstanding. Ingrid's memoir is eight chapters. Short, and to the point. I love it for what it is and recommend it to anyone who loves memoirs.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    This is the second time Ingrid Ricks has kept me glued to the pages with her compelling story. The first time was with her earlier Memoir - Hippie Boy: A Girl's Story. Focus is an inspiration to read, but I don't think it is fully complete without also reading Hippie Boy. Though they cover two completely different points in time, and different aspects of the author's life - Hippie Boy really shows you how strong Ms. Ricks is as a person. Here are some of my favorite quotes from Focus: "With no peri This is the second time Ingrid Ricks has kept me glued to the pages with her compelling story. The first time was with her earlier Memoir - Hippie Boy: A Girl's Story. Focus is an inspiration to read, but I don't think it is fully complete without also reading Hippie Boy. Though they cover two completely different points in time, and different aspects of the author's life - Hippie Boy really shows you how strong Ms. Ricks is as a person. Here are some of my favorite quotes from Focus: "With no peripheral vision to distract me, I’ve been forced to focus on what’s right in front of me—my family, my friends, my dreams, this moment." "Was this what I was putting out into the universe? Was this what I was teaching my daughters? That you have a dream that’s eating away at your soul but you don’t go after it?" This one is a quote from her eye doctor: “Always remember that when doctors tell you that ‘nothing can be done for you’, what they are really saying is that ‘there is nothing THEY can do for you." Need some inspiration? Read Focus (and Hippie Boy)!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Libby Maxey

    Ingrid Ricks writes with fierce, intense honesty; not just in "Focus" but in every word she applies to media of any kind. Real human honesty is extremely attractive and compelling, which makes her work sing with the blessed treachery of living in a human body in our blessed, treacherous social "order." As a Brownie scout, my troop took a day-long field trip to the school for the blind in Indianapolis. It was unforgettable: one of the first experiences of my young life that was both devastating an Ingrid Ricks writes with fierce, intense honesty; not just in "Focus" but in every word she applies to media of any kind. Real human honesty is extremely attractive and compelling, which makes her work sing with the blessed treachery of living in a human body in our blessed, treacherous social "order." As a Brownie scout, my troop took a day-long field trip to the school for the blind in Indianapolis. It was unforgettable: one of the first experiences of my young life that was both devastating and full of Light. There are none so blind as those who WILL NOT see; this is a truth that also contains the spectrum of devastation and Light. Ingrid wills to see, and I wholeheartedly agree with her in prayer. In "Hippie Boy" Ingrid unflinchingly revealed the path to seeing differently than her Mormon fundamentalist upbringing that seemed intent on keeping her spiritually blind and shackled to misogynist patriarchy. With "Focus" she unflinchingly reveals her path to a decision to heal her physical vision, and in the process to see perfectly with the vision of the Christ. Her path is ongoing and she continues to share in real time on her blog. Ingrid Ricks is a REAL American hero.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    The author,Ingrid Ricks, is only in her early 40's yet she is losing her eyesight. In fact, by the time she goes to the eye doctor, she is legally blind. This is her story on how she changed her life and accepted her disability. She was diagnosed with Retinitus Pigmentosa (RP). She lost her peripheral vision so everything she saw was as if through a straw. This is a hereditary disease yet she knew no one in her family who had it. She finally met a doctor who believed that the environment (stress, The author,Ingrid Ricks, is only in her early 40's yet she is losing her eyesight. In fact, by the time she goes to the eye doctor, she is legally blind. This is her story on how she changed her life and accepted her disability. She was diagnosed with Retinitus Pigmentosa (RP). She lost her peripheral vision so everything she saw was as if through a straw. This is a hereditary disease yet she knew no one in her family who had it. She finally met a doctor who believed that the environment (stress, diet, and other environmental factors) played a role in her disease. She was hoping that eye stimulation (as in electrotherapy) and stress relievers would reverse RP. No, it didn't but it might have slowed the progress a little. She changed her life. She learned how to not control everything and to depend on her husband more. In fact, he quit his law firm and started his own practice from home. She learned to live in the moment and enjoy her family. She doesn't want to learn how to be blind because she is busy with the present. The power of NOW. It was a good story but I was expecting to read how she learned to live as a blind woman. She's not at that stage yet.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Java Davis

    I read Ingrid Ricks' two earlier memoirs. Normally, a person doesn't have enough living under his or her belt to merit three memoirs, but Ingrid has led a rich and varied life. This book, the size of a novella, concentrates on the author's fight with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that narrows one's field of vision until the vision is completely gone. Ingrid, a fighter since the day she was born, navigates a maze of insights, turning one corner after another, and at each turn, s I read Ingrid Ricks' two earlier memoirs. Normally, a person doesn't have enough living under his or her belt to merit three memoirs, but Ingrid has led a rich and varied life. This book, the size of a novella, concentrates on the author's fight with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that narrows one's field of vision until the vision is completely gone. Ingrid, a fighter since the day she was born, navigates a maze of insights, turning one corner after another, and at each turn, she finds something new to understand and digest. Between discovering that she's been too controlling of all the family responsibilities, visiting an HIV-ravaged African village, and realizing that she's been driving while legally blind, it's been a journey of self-examination. It's sometimes OK to trust people and to let go of things that hold you back. This book was written to encourage other people with issues, eyesight or otherwise, to accept and "come clean" about them. I highly recommend this book to people who want to look deep. -- Java Davis, author

  17. 4 out of 5

    Isis

    This brief but fascinating memoir really packs a lot into a short amount if space. As the title at least hints at, if not shouts out, one of the major themes of this memoir is the detailed story of Ms. Ricks loss of vision. The memoir takes us from before the diagnosis through to the 'present' of the publication of her memoirs. It is an interesting read and her biggest hurdles/self-discoveries are all worth some thought when applied to the reader's life. The challenges and lessons learned may not This brief but fascinating memoir really packs a lot into a short amount if space. As the title at least hints at, if not shouts out, one of the major themes of this memoir is the detailed story of Ms. Ricks loss of vision. The memoir takes us from before the diagnosis through to the 'present' of the publication of her memoirs. It is an interesting read and her biggest hurdles/self-discoveries are all worth some thought when applied to the reader's life. The challenges and lessons learned may not be the same, but they likely have very similar power for each person respectively. Engaging and easy to read, this is one of those books that you can knock out in a very short amount of time (being all of 139 pages). However, some of the messages in the story are the kinds that stay for years, if not forever - and can be used to inform your own life as necessary.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Boothe

    I am so very grateful that I had the opportunity to read your memoir!! Thank you very much for writing it!! I too am an author, new at it and still waiting to publish my first novel. What amazed me about yours is the strength you have and how open minded you were able to become to your disease. I also have a disease although different from yours. Mine is the disease of addiction but I am in recovery with over a year clean. I forget sometimes about what I have to be grateful for. You helped me to I am so very grateful that I had the opportunity to read your memoir!! Thank you very much for writing it!! I too am an author, new at it and still waiting to publish my first novel. What amazed me about yours is the strength you have and how open minded you were able to become to your disease. I also have a disease although different from yours. Mine is the disease of addiction but I am in recovery with over a year clean. I forget sometimes about what I have to be grateful for. You helped me to remember that. You also inspired me to focus more on what matters to me. My recovery and passion for writing, and taking better care of myself. You are an inspiration. It would be an honor to be friends with you and before I forget you are also very blessed to have the family you do. You are very fortunate. Again thank you for the gift you blessed us all with. JamieLynn

  19. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

    As someone coming from a family affected by RP, I got frustrated by some elements of this book. I did feel it was well written and easy to read, but I felt it lacked some scientific backing and information. I seem to remember her saying that her children had a one in two chance of getting RP. You cannot make a statement like this without knowing what form of RP you have. If her RP is recessive, for example, the chances of her kids inheriting it are much much smaller. It is a good personal story, As someone coming from a family affected by RP, I got frustrated by some elements of this book. I did feel it was well written and easy to read, but I felt it lacked some scientific backing and information. I seem to remember her saying that her children had a one in two chance of getting RP. You cannot make a statement like this without knowing what form of RP you have. If her RP is recessive, for example, the chances of her kids inheriting it are much much smaller. It is a good personal story, but I do feel that it may give a false impression about some elements of this disease and that there is a certain amount of denial about some of the realities of RP.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer D. Munro

    This book inspired me in a way that lingers, in the way that Bauby's The Diving Bell and the Butterfuly has continued to inspire me for years--to keep going and to realize how lucky I am. I don't exaggerate when I say that I think about Ricks's book every single day, and about the determination of the author. I learned a lot about an eye disease I'd never heard of before, but mostly I was gripped by the story of a woman who is given a terrible diagnosis but, instead of giving up, uses it to impr This book inspired me in a way that lingers, in the way that Bauby's The Diving Bell and the Butterfuly has continued to inspire me for years--to keep going and to realize how lucky I am. I don't exaggerate when I say that I think about Ricks's book every single day, and about the determination of the author. I learned a lot about an eye disease I'd never heard of before, but mostly I was gripped by the story of a woman who is given a terrible diagnosis but, instead of giving up, uses it to improve her life and live her dreams.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    I was very engrossed by this book. I have bad eyesight myself and like the author always thought it would be the worst thing that could ever happen to me if I were to go blind. I am glad she shared her story with us in how she finally let people know she was legally blind. It's good to be focused on the positives she does have. I used to cry myself to sleep at night as a child, promising God I would be good if only he would fix my eyes so I would not have to wear glasses. Of course that did not I was very engrossed by this book. I have bad eyesight myself and like the author always thought it would be the worst thing that could ever happen to me if I were to go blind. I am glad she shared her story with us in how she finally let people know she was legally blind. It's good to be focused on the positives she does have. I used to cry myself to sleep at night as a child, promising God I would be good if only he would fix my eyes so I would not have to wear glasses. Of course that did not happen but I am happy to be able to see perfectly with glasses. Thank you for this book Mrs Ricks!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    I absolutely loved this book. I found the writing realistic, honest, and inspiring. I was so moved by the author's attitude and way of coping with her disease. She always focused on what she could do instead of what she couldn't do. When she felt down, her family was there to pick her up and she righted the ship. The last chapter on what she learned and gained I found especially moving. I learned a lot from reading the memoir - not about blindness, but about determination, honesty, priorities, f I absolutely loved this book. I found the writing realistic, honest, and inspiring. I was so moved by the author's attitude and way of coping with her disease. She always focused on what she could do instead of what she couldn't do. When she felt down, her family was there to pick her up and she righted the ship. The last chapter on what she learned and gained I found especially moving. I learned a lot from reading the memoir - not about blindness, but about determination, honesty, priorities, family, hope, and acceptance. Wonderful memoir.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Judy Stambaugh

    Interesting and informative The author writes of being diagnosed with an eye disease, which has no cure, and will eventually lead to blindness. She struggles with the gradual loss of her sight. She no longer drives, has trouble navigating a crowd, can't see someone who wavers trying to get her attention, drops something then can't find it because she can't see it, though it is in plain sight. She struggles with what others would think if they knew she couldn't see. She struggles with letting go o Interesting and informative The author writes of being diagnosed with an eye disease, which has no cure, and will eventually lead to blindness. She struggles with the gradual loss of her sight. She no longer drives, has trouble navigating a crowd, can't see someone who wavers trying to get her attention, drops something then can't find it because she can't see it, though it is in plain sight. She struggles with what others would think if they knew she couldn't see. She struggles with letting go of control. Worth the read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    I read this memoir in one sitting. It is a very well written story about the author's diagnosis and coming to terms with an eye disease like macular degeneration that has no cure and results in nearly total blindness. The was only 37 at the time, a working wife and mother of two young children, and her diagnosis shocked her. The book tells of her coming to terms with her eye disease, and persevering through it. A good and educating read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Joanna Cabot

    This was a well-written and engaging memoir about the author's struggles with a degenerative eye disease. It was a little too short for my taste---there were parts that could have merited more detail, and it ended rather abruptly, hence the low rating. If the book had been a little more fleshed out, it would have been one of my memorable reads of the year. The writing quality was there, there just wasn't enough of it!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Judy Ann Bertoson

    A truly inspiring book!! I found this book to be very inspiring. The author's honesty in sharing all the details about her RP and how it affects her from day to day really made me appreciate the life I have and I will think before I complain about my problems. I am so glad she is able to live a happy fulfilled life and she is positive about life. I would recommend this book to anyone who needs to be inspired and uplifted.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ida

    A heartfelt memoir of a woman who is learning to live with the progressive loss of her eyesight. Ingrid Ricks doesn't hold back on her emotions, but doesn't dwell on them either. The book is brief, deals with her fight against Retinitus Pigmentosa, her methods of survival, and the changes she has to make in order to adjust to her condition. It is an inspirational book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    Books like Focus are proof that memoirs can be very powerful stories. Even though I am not losing my eyesight, as Ingrid Ricks has, I very much related to her response to finding out about her condition as well as how she navigated the emotions and problems she and her family faced. Short, very readable and, for me, a story with a life lesson.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Onna

    I started reading this book by mistake, thinking it was a totally different genre of book, but once I started I could hardly put it down! It's not a boring memoir like so many can be, nor does it drone on and on and on about the woes of her degenerative eye disease. She provided a perfect balance of fact and life experiences. Honestly, she sounds like a person I wouldn't mind having as a friend.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kari

    I read Focus after hearing Ingrid Ricks speak at a publishing conference. She's a great speaker, a wonderful writer, and an inspiring woman. Focus is very relatable because Ricks conveys clearly how it feels like to have a degenerative eye disease, and what that means to her identity. I look forward to reading her other books as well.

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