Amazon's "Top 100 books of the Year" List.
The New York Times Review published on May 21, 2007
Entertainment Weekly Book Review gives Crashing Through an "A-"
From Publishers Weekly
Blinded in a childhood accident, Mike May never hesitated to try anything—driving a motorcycle, hiking alone in the woods, downhill skiing—until the day, when May was 46, an ophthalmologist told him a new stem-cell and cornea transplant could restore his vision. As Esquire contributing editor Kurson (Shadow Divers) relates, the decision to have the surgery wasn't easy. May, always a "pioneer in his heart," had never really felt he was missing anything in life. The surgery also had a few risks: the restoration of sight might only be temporary; the immunosuppressive drug was highly toxic; May might never adjust to the changes having sight would cause. Previously, patients had become depressed, their lives ruined because, while it might seem strange to sighted people, these patients found that the idea of vision was better than the reality. May went forward, only to find that, even though his eye was now perfect, his brain had forgotten how to process visual input. Fascinated by colors and patterns, he had difficulty discerning facial features, letters, even men from women. How May adjusts to his medical miracle, living with the disappointments as well as the joys, makes for a remarkable story of courage and endurance.
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Chicago Sun-Times on May 14, 2007
Bob Kurson's new book Crashing Through is published this week, and like his previous best-seller, Shadow Divers, it finds an incredible human story and tells it in gripping fashion.
In this case, Kurson -- who once worked for this paper and then snared the brass ring at Esquire -- discovered the unbelievable case of Jennifer May, a California woman who might be the first wife in the history of the world to step back and let her husband figure out a major life decision for himself.
"Jennifer hesitated for a moment," Kurson writes. "She hadn't had time to begin to sort out the implications of Goodman's offer, but she knew this much: Something big had happened, and whatever it meant it was certain to be an intensely personal issue for her husband. For that reason she wanted to say nothing."
Astounding. Most wives not only leap to tell their husband what to do, but how to do it, when to do it, and the efficient way to clean up after it's done. Kurson, in an amazing act of restraint, focuses his story on the lesser marvel of the husband, Mike May, and the decision he faces -- whether to undergo surgery that would allow him, a 46-year-old man, to see for the first time since he was blinded by an explosion at age 3. The procedure is fraught with risks, from cancer brought on by the anti-rejection drugs to depression sparked by the overwhelming world of sight.
Kurson is a fine writer, but when May finally sees -- I don't think I'm giving anything away, as there wouldn't be much of a book if he stayed blind -- Bob projects the book into the stratosphere, like an Air Force test pilot, mashing down on the big red turbo-thrust button, pinning his wide-eyed reader back in the padded seat with a blast of thrilling prose. It's a great read.
That said, I still would have titled the book Holding Back and focused on the wife. Because, as Bob relates, perhaps 20 people in human history have regained their sight after decades of blindness. But Jennifer May is unique.
Review written from ML
I am on the first disc just where the doctor has told you that it looks good for the transplant. I wanted to give you my first impressions.
My favorite books are biographies and have been since I was a young reader in elementary school. Mysteries and thrillers follow as a close second to favorite.
This book reads like all of those. I know your story. I have many emotions as I read this but the strongest of them is the thrill of the adventure of your life. It is very strange to read about your family (meaning my family too) and yet uncover details that are fresh and new.
It whets my appetite for the full version. The story unfolds in a way that you can't stop turning the page.
Kurson is a master story teller. Shadow Divers was one of the best reads I've had. All my family read it and agree it was amazing.
I am glad your story is available for everyone and I think Kurson was worthy of it.