Another childhood favorite I reread recently as a brain-break – a sequel to Butler's Light a Single Candle,
which I'd suggest you read first if you want to pick this one up. Gold
could stand alone, but it has much more impact if you know the main character's background.
After losing her sight at the age of 14, Cathy Wheeler had to give up her dreams of becoming an artist. Light
ends with a suggestion that she'll go on to become a writer instead. But Gold
begins with Cathy in college studying to become a speech therapist.
I remember as a kid feeling disappointed by this turn of events, especially when it becomes clear immediately that Cathy is not in love with her studies. She's hardworking and conscientious, but she fell into her major pretty much by accident, and is now sticking with it more from stubbornness than anything else.
She tells herself she's just being practical. Plenty of people have jobs they don't adore, after all. But as her friends and family pursue work they're passionate about, her stolid pragmatism begins to crack.
The main plot line is ostensibly about the hope an eye doctor offers her for regaining some vision, but really this is a story of a young woman learning not to settle for less than true love – not just romantically, though that's important too, but in every aspect of life. Yes, Cathy is completely blind. She's also solidly middle class, and has all the options that come along with a supportive family and the chance to obtain a university education. Under those circumstances, why on earth would anyone slog through life doing a job that makes them feel just "meh"?
Recommended for all ages.