The Distance Between Me and the Cherry Tree

author: Paola Peretti (2018)
translated by: Denise Muir
narrator: Rosie Akerman
date read: 8 January 2022
rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

This is a book about Mafalda, a ten-year old girl with Stargardt’s disease, which causes progressive loss of vision and eventually blindness. It’s a first-person narration of her talking about the “mist” in her eyes, and preparing for “being in the dark”. Over the course of the book, blindness approaches – the title describes how close she has to be before she can see the cherry tree outside school, and it’s gradually counting down.

It’s a bittersweet story, but well told. It feels like a ten-year old’s view of the world and what’s important – and also what she doesn’t understand yet. As an adult, I can understand why some of the adults in the book are making decisions that don’t make sense to her.

It’s based on the author’s own experience with the disease.

I found it while browsing the children’s fiction in the library audiobook catalogue, but I think this story could be read by somebody of any age.

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