There are some who say he bears a resemblance to Richard Nixon. I don’t really see it, but I may be as blind to the perception as one who lives on the edge of prospopagnosia.
If there are similarities in David Cook and Richard Nixon’s personae, it may in the subtitle of the book, “A Man Divided”. This could just as easily have been the subtitle of Dr. Cook’s paper back book, The Anatomy of Blindness.
I obtained the novel as soon as it came out two years ago, but put it aside until I had the time to properly savor it. Knowing the author personally, I knew that I might find truth stranger than fiction, and needed to read it with a clear head. I could just as easily have written this piece on my personal blog, as I did recently with a subject that crosses multiple lines.
Behavioral optometrist Dr. Gary Spindel is the not-so-ficitonal narrator of the novel who introduces each of its five parts with the subjects of blind spot, stereo blindness, central vs. peripheral vision, gaze blindness, and neglect. A behavioral optometrist reading the book will be regaled by Dr. Cook’s many professional double entendres, ranging from doppleganger to diplopia. Although careful not to mention the name of the group from which he ultimately extricated himself, the veil is thin as the novelist struggles to navigate the boundaries between sect and cult, and between churchology and scientism. The tightrope that Dr. Cook/Spindel walks is set at staggering heights, and as a reader you may find yourself wondering whether the net will really find him as he falls.
There are no such things as safe sects, and Dr. Spindel deftly intertwines his personal and professional lives throughout this book. There is love, there is drama, there is vision therapy, and there is everything anyone who knows David Cook will recognize. I intend this not as a book review, but as a statement that if you enjoy behavioral optometry, philosophy, and heretics as much as hermeneutics, you will love this book. In that sense, Dr. Cook’s book reminds me of Galileo’s Middle Finger, flipping the bird when appropriate to establishment and disestablishment alike.