Skip to main content

The Art of Seeing


The Art of Seeing

Cammie McGovern's THE ART OF SEEING captures the bond between
sisters. From the first lines --- "When you are a younger sister,
you are born with an eye not on the horizon, but on the hem of a
shirt just ahead, the flash of a ponytail whipping side to side"
--- the reader is firmly transported to the roll of being that
younger sister. As a younger sister, it was easy for me to make
this journey.

As the story progressed, I adored Rozzie and her flamboyant ways,
especially with her dark beauty. Each time Jemma looks at her
sister in awe, so does the reader. The story starts in the past and
then moves to the present, with Rozzie in the hospital in Minnesota
following a surgery to restore her vision. The first half of the
story jumps between the past and present, yet the reader is clear
at every juncture.

At 17 Rozzie becomes a star, and Jemma is left trying to live in
the shadow of her dazzling older sister. She doesn't realize
Rozzie's loneliness even when Rozzie sends for her. Awe and
jealousy surround the sisters. Each thinking the other's life is
easier. As Jemma sits by Rozzie's bedside at the hospital, not only
do old secrets surge forward, but so does the distrust and love and
hate they hold for the other.

THE ART OF SEEING peels away the layers of sisters, revealing the
pettiness, yet going deeper and finding the love. When Rozzie tries
to explain this to Timothy, she says one thing, but stops short of
expanding on her hurt. "…she wants to go further…tell
him that her sister broke her heart –-- but to her surprise
another impulse accompanies that one…She wants him to
understand that even when they are hardly speaking, she loves
Jemma. She always has."

Ms. McGovern has captured the complications of family with stunning
accuracy, detail, and insight. As a family learns to adjust to
Rozzie's loss of her sight, they learn to open their own

Regardless of where your sister lives, next door or thousands of
miles away, if you're the best of friends or stewing over a feud,
once you've read this book, you'll want to pick up the phone and
talk to that one person that has always been and will always be
what no other can be in your life, your sister.

Reviewed by Jody Pryor on January 20, 2011

The Art of Seeing
by Cammie McGovern

  • Publication Date: July 30, 2002
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • ISBN-10: 0743228359
  • ISBN-13: 9780743228350