To Race the Wind Critical Context - Essay

Harold Krents

Critical Context

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Although To Race the Wind is currently out of print, it is available in many librar-ies. The appeals of the book to a youthful audience are many. Krents’s youth is one of those rare and uplifting success stories of young people who defy the odds to reach their goals. His story is specific in the sense that it enlightens readers about blindness, but it is universal in the sense that it speaks honestly about the emotions of youth. Krents upholds a system of values that young people can easily recognize and with which they can identify; the choices that Krents makes have easily understood consequences. Finally, just as Leonard Gershe was inspired by Krents to write Butterflies Are Free, young readers will experience that same inspiration when they read To Race the Wind.

To Race the Wind is more than a variation of Helen Keller’s The Story of My Life (1903). Krents, unlike Keller, is “every child.” He took the sometimes painful, often lonely path to adulthood, but—perhaps because he had to feel his way along the path—his story can guide younger readers. It can alleviate the fears and insecurities and misgivings of those youths who feel that they are outsiders. They will discover not only that the path has been traveled before but also that such paths can lead to happier times. Despite the limited use of mild obscenities, Krents’s autobiography should be an accessible and pleasurable reading experience for all young adult readers.