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Reversals: A Personal Account of Victory over Dyslexia

Reversals: A Personal Account of Victory over Dyslexia

There was something wrong with my brain. What had previously been a shadowy suspicion that hovered on the edge of consciousness became certain knowledge the year I was nine and entered fourth grade. I seemed to be like other children, but I was not like them; I could not learn to read or spell.

In this first account of what it is like to grow up dyslexic, Eileen Simpson vividly recreates the frightening world of a child living in the limbo of illiteracy. Simpson’s lack of reading skills so exasperated her teachers and relatives that they began to think she was mentally retarded. She could get lost walking to the grocery store; at times she felt as if she had no control over her speech. It was not until she was twenty-two that her future husband, the poet John Berryman, finally named her mysterious ailment.

Simpson intersperses her narrative with nontechnical explanations of dyslexia and what is being done to treat it. But despite growing public awareness and advances in research, dyslexia remains a frustrating and frightening disorder.

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