Book review: Born at the Right Time

Ron McCallum autobiography: Born at the Right Time

Latest in Lifestyle
A GENTLEMAN AND A SCHOLAR: Ron McCallum is Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Sydney, the first totally blind person to be appointed to a full professorship at any university in Australia. He has been chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disability and received a Centenary Medal for his work.

A GENTLEMAN AND A SCHOLAR: Ron McCallum is Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Sydney, the first totally blind person to be appointed to a full professorship at any university in Australia. He has been chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disability and received a Centenary Medal for his work.

Aa

Autobiography tells of a life underpinned by gratitude, optimism and determination.

Aa

THROUGHOUT his life Ron McCallum has had many blessings - a loving, supportive mother, good friends, kind and talented teachers, encouraging workmates, a wife and children to cherish.

The one thing the 2011 Senior of The Year doesn't have is sight - he was born blind. But that has never stopped him being his best, leading him to a distinguished career as a professor of law at a leading university and chairing a committee at the United Nations.

His warm and engaging autobiography, Born at the Right Time, tells of a life underpinned by gratitude, optimism and a determination to thrive.

It also shows what can be achieved by embracing change.

Throughout his life Ron has seized upon every assistive technology available - from reel-to-reel tape recorders to computers, speech synthesisers and the internet and beyond. He is in awe of what is available to him and other blind people to realise their potential. He will inspire you.

Ron writes beautifully. His descriptions of the reality of blindness - both what it has given him and what it has taken - are honest, revealing and clearly heartfelt. The epilogue, "What is Blue", is as touching a thank you to life as any you will find.

Of course it wasn't all easy. Born in 1948, Ron grew up in modest circumstances in a home blighted by domestic violence, when prospects for the blind were limited - many spent their lives making baskets in sheltered workshops.

But fate never reckoned with his remarkable mother - the other hero of this book - who had other ideas, nurturing but never molly-coddling him and teaching him the skills he needed to live in a world of sighted people.

This is a marvellous book.

Born at the Right Time, Ron McCallum (Allen & Unwin), $29.99

READ MORE:Sight-saving science for remote communities

READ MORE:Gene therapy operation to save sight

Aa