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Read about a woman who lives in total darkness
Girl in the Dark: A Memoir of a Life without Light — Anna Lyndsey
What to Read This Week
Girl in the Dark: A Memoir of a Life without Light by Anna Lyndsey
A little backstory, first: I first read this book right when I’d moved from Kentucky to New York City, alone, knowing no one. I was making it, but I felt lonelier than ever, and naturally turned to books. While I certainly did not experience any of the same hardships as Anna, I did feel seen and heard when I read this book. Like others knew what it was like to feel so solitary all the time. It’s stuck with me for that reason, and, as we enter our third year post-pandemic (though I don’t really believe we’re at the “post” part yet), I thought some people may need a memoir like this to help them relate to others and also feel seen if they are feeling lonely.
What It’s About
Anna felt like she was living a relatively typical life: she had a job she worked hard at, she’d just bought an apartment, and she was in the early stages of a great relationship. But slowly, she began to develop strange pains while working, her face feeling like it was burning while sitting in front of the computer screen. Then, overhead fluorescent lights felt like they were burning her skin. Soon, it was happening with natural light and sunlight—any form of light burned her and caused immense physical pain.
She began papering over all the windows in her home, seeing doctors who could not figure out what was wrong, and trying to avoid light as much as possible. She began listening to the radio and audiobooks, unable to turn a small light on for reading, and tried to stave off the sheer loneliness she felt in being closed off in a room with no light.
Who Will Like It
As I mentioned earlier, this book is one that’s stuck with me for years because of how real Anna’s writing is, not sugarcoating anything and laying it all out very plainly. It’s refreshing to read a memoir like that. I’d put this in the hands of anyone feeling that loneliness or solitude right now, especially as the days get longer and we begin appreciating the sunlight that is finally arriving.
I’ve also been experiencing a chronic illness of my own, and this is the first time I’m acknowledging it out loud, really, to anyone other than a select few. I’ve been seeking out more stories like mine where it feels like our bodies fail us in the hopes of finding some solace. Other books I plan on picking up soon are What Doesn’t Kill You by Tessa Miller and The Invisible Kingdom by Meghan O’Rourke.
And even if you’re not experiencing loneliness or illness, it can also be important to read stories like this to understand that others experience it and recognize that they might need you to lean on sometimes.
What I’m Reading Now
I realphabetized my library last weekend—an annual ritual to fill the gaps of books I’ve pulled off and read or gotten rid of and reintegrate new acquisitions. I also try to purge during this time, but it never feels like enough. But if I said I didn’t get joy out of being surrounded by overflowing stacks of books, I’d be supremely lying.
In my quest, I pulled a few out for my want-to-read-next pile, and as soon as I finish up a book I’m currently reading, I plan on grabbing one of these. Books pictured: This Golden State by Marit Weisenberg, Under Lock & Skeleton Key by Gigi Pandian, and When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord.
Can’t get enough, or looking for a different recommendation? Browse the archives, or check out some popular past recommendations:
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