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I read this book when I was in elementary school in Ashland, KY, probably between 1990 and 1998. It was a paperback, with the cover primarily blue, maybe with the main character on the front in dark sunglasses. The protagonist was a young boy, I think a cub scout or boy scout. Another boy (I think, a bully), throws a firecracker at him as a prank, and it explodes in his face, blinding him. The rest of what I remember of the book was him adapting to his new handicap and coming to accept that he may never regain his sight again (although I seem to remember that his vision started to come back, at least partially, near the end).

I did not get a chance to read the first part of the book, as the binding had failed and a decent chunk was missing, including likely the scene where he was actually blinded, although I picked up a fair amount from context. There was a scene where he went to a school for the blind and just sat on the bed. When his roommate asked why he was doing nothing, he excused himself by saying "I'm blind" whereupon his roommate pointed out that they were blind too, and it didn't stop them. I think the roommate also introduced him to the practice of attaching tactile tags to clothing to let him know what color it was. There was a scene using basic echolocation where he learned to get an impression of the room's dimensions by clapping once and listening. And lastly, I remember there being a scene where he confronted the bully who blinded him and we learn that the psychopathic monster he's been building up in his head is just a kid who made a mistake and feels horrible about what happened.

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2 Answers 2

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Follow My Leader, by James Garfield?

front cover

The book opens with the main character, Jimmy Carter, playing baseball with members of his scout troop. The cover does have the main character on it, wearing dark glasses. The book was published in 1994, so it's within the time frame. I don't know enough about it to say for sure, but it appears to match your description, from what I can tell.

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  • I grabbed a copy off of the Internet Archive, and right after the accident, "The boys stood in awed silence when the ambulance drove up to take Jimmy and his aunt to the hospital. It was the first time that one of their Scout group had ridden in an ambulance. They felt a little important, but also very, very much afraid." That explains the remembered connection, although I don't see that the baseball game was part of scouting explicitly. Incidentally, the "bully" I remember was just another kid, his only fault being careless in throwing a firecracker, which he feels very guilty about. May 14 at 14:33
  • Mike shows up in a later scene, where he accidentally causes some trouble with Leader because Jimmy is unaware that he's there (trying to figure out how to apologize) and Leader starts acting aggressive because of the potential threat as he just stands there, nearby. '"It was me," Mike said, getting the whole story off his chest. "I made him mad at me, and when I got near him at the Scout meeting he bit me. I — I guess I had it coming, Jimmy. Then when everybody felt sorry for me — oh, I don't know — I guess I just got all mixed up."' May 14 at 14:36
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There was a book called Blind Like Me. I read it in the early 1960's. He was blinded by a firecracker. The cover didn't look like that, but that was 30 years earlier.

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  • Note that the OP has already accepted Mithrandir's answer, indicating that that's the book he was looking for.
    – b_jonas
    Mar 7, 2018 at 9:19
  • @b_jonas: True, but generally don't we encourage people to submit incorrect answers that still match the question, so that others looking for similar material might find their answer? Mar 7, 2018 at 10:18
  • That said... I can't find a book by this title, which makes the answer decidedly less useful... Mar 7, 2018 at 10:26
  • @SeanDuggan A reasonable question, but not for comments here. I'll try to answer in chat chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/43258858#43258858
    – b_jonas
    Mar 7, 2018 at 10:31

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