Kyle Green is on top of the world. He and Matt have been together for ten years, and—as the voice of Ecos, the wildly popular anime character—Kyle is treated like a rock star in anime circles. But in an instant, a stroke leaves him blind. When photographer Matt gets the opportunity of a lifetime, Kyle reexamines their relationship, discovers it has been a safety net rather than a true romance, and sets Matt free to pursue his dream. Kyle’s life and career as he knew them are gone, and he must now find the courage and creativity to draft a new plan.
After being away for fifteen years, Seth Caplan comes home to Chicago to care for his mother and to partner with a small start-up tech company. He and Kyle meet after Kyle’s collision with a child’s sidewalk toy, and they hit it off. Kyle wants to get back into running, and Seth becomes his guide. As they get to know each other, they start seeing each other beyond their three-times-a-week runs. But Seth’s revelation of the dark reason why he left his career in California sends the relationship into a tailspin and leaves both men running blind.
After I finish a book I always feel as though I’ve gained something. This is why I continue to ride the tidal wave of reading. Sometimes it’s a thrilling ride; other times it’s gentle and calm but equally rewarding, and then occasionally I have a bout of seasickness and can’t wait for it to end. Running Blind is a satisfying story that left me with a new sense of awareness regarding the visually impaired in addition to the sweet story encapsulating the unpredictability of love. This isn’t the first book I’ve read involving a blind man; but it was different because Kyle suffers a tragic incident that takes his vision from him while we are with him. He is fully aware of what he has lost and grieves his sight as he recovers from his close brush with death. We witness the acclimation to his new life and it is not painless. I greatly respected the manner in which he does it all, and I found myself in awe of him.
I’ll be honest when I tell you I was hesitant going in knowing Kyle is with his long-term partner as this story begins and yet falls in love with another before the final pages. I find it a difficult and delicate process to allow enough page time with the couple ‘meant to be together’ when precious time is spent with them apart and or tied to another. However, my fears were unfounded here, for our fantastic duo managed to choreograph this feat with ease.
Seth is patient, kind and has a huge heart. He has recently returned to his hometown to care for his ailing mother. I quickly fell for Seth and yearned for his happiness. A secret from his past binds him like chains around his wrists. He’s a prisoner to his own guilt. A relationship is the last thing he’s looking for but as we are all fully aware, love doesn’t wait until it’s convenient. Love simply happens and if we don’t grab it and hold on, it may be lost forever. Forgiveness is the key, but will Seth permit it?
This had the potential to be super angsty and it really…wasn’t. If you like a thoroughly developed plotline with highs and lows but not heart-wrenching throbbing grief, this is the perfect story for you. I may have preferred a bit more cutting emotion but not everyone craves the gut punches as I do. Tragedy strikes and then we are kicked when we are down but it’s not much more than a lingering sting. It wasn’t too little or too much, but just the right amount of emotional blows. I very much enjoyed all of the characters. That’s not always the case and delights me when it happens. I thought the inclusion of familiar narrators was delightful. It was so fun recognizing the names dropped! And though I am not a fan of manga, I found this aspect of the story quite entertaining.
Kyle’s stroke results in his loss of vision and the aftermath is rather unique. I had no idea such a condition existed. I was captivated during his recovery and adored his eagerness to bend as necessary to his new life. Running was an important outlet for Kyle. He tried to maintain his self independence and was crushed to discover he couldn’t safely run outside alone. He did not want to be led and struggled with the aspect of depending on someone else. His collision with Seth left him shaken, emotionally. He realized that some parts of his life had to be altered and having a running partner was his first acceptance in modifying his new life. As they began to run together he found this new form of dependency wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Seth made him feel safe, protected and cared for. His time with Matt was comfortable but never completely fulfilling. Seth sets him on fire and despite all the reasons the timing isn’t right, he wants to feel the burn.
A break up. Kyle is committed to his best friend rather than the love of his life. Feelings ignite quickly but the courtship is rather slow.
If you enjoy a little something different and don’t mind tackling hurdles before reaching the finish line, I believe this tender story will be a winner.