Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

In To Race the Wind: An Autobiography, Harold Krents recounts his experiences in seeking independence as a blind youth in an educational system designed for the sighted. His autobiography is, first and foremost, a story of courage, but embedded in his experiences are lessons for all young people about the values of independence and family. To Race the Wind covers the first twenty-five years of Krents’s life in New York and Massachusetts, from 1945 until 1970, and includes eight pages of black-and-white photographs of Krents and his family and friends.

Although most of the book’s twenty chapters are arranged chronologically, the opening scene takes place on November 7, 1970, at the Boston Sheraton Hotel as Krents proposes to Katherine (Kit) Mitchell Williams, who became his fiancée. Krents refers to Kit’s acceptance as the “high-water mark” of his life. This opening scene, which is preceded by a brief listing of lonely events in Krents’s childhood, is related with humor and charm, and it lets the readers into Krents’s world with an assurance that whatever follows did not leave him bitter.

The longest chapters of the autobiography chronologically cover key events in Krents’s life. The first of these events, in chapter 10, concerns the first significant conflict between Krents and his mother. Meaning well, Mrs. Krents insisted to his teachers that Harold not be given an award for athletics because she believed...

(The entire section is 526 words.)