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Read for RNIB Day Reading Group Challenge

Read for RNIB Day Reading Group Challenge

Discussion Points

July 2014

Milo is the central voice in the novel.  What are the advantages of seeing this particular world from a child’s perspective? 

How does the story of Milo also benefit from being told from the points of view of Gran, Sandy and Tripi?  What did you enjoy about each narrator?

What Milo Saw has moments of humour as well as moments of great sadness – did the balance of the two work well for you?

Is Milo’s retinitis pigmentosa realistically and sympathetically presented?

People often overcome physical or emotional difficulties with amazing coping strategies.  How does Milo compensate for his lack of peripheral vision?

Although Milo’s physical vision is limited by his retinitis pigmentosa, he is acutely tuned in to what is going on around him.  In what ways do we see Milo’s perceptiveness?

The character of Sandy is not as immediately likeable as that of Milo, Gran and Tripi.  How did you respond to her?  Did your feelings change through the course of the novel?

Besides being cute, what does Hamlet contribute to the story?

There are many secondary characters who add to the quirkiness and humour of the novel.  Which ones did you particularly enjoy and why?

How did you respond to the character of Nurse Thornhill?  Is she a wholly unsympathetic character?

What Milo Saw tackles a whole range of contemporary subjects from diet pills and mail-order brides to single mums and care for the elderly.  Which issues did you find particularly engaging?

Through Tripi the reader experiences the challenges of a person fleeing a war-torn country and seeking asylum.  Has Tripi’s story affected your thinking about this issue in any way?

There are a number of important relationships between the characters in the novel; not just Milo’s relationships with other characters but also how the various characters relate to each other. Which one did you find particularly enjoyable or interesting?

Romantic love plays an important role in the novel (Sandy and Tripi; Gran and Petros).  How did you respond to these relationships?

Despite its lightness of tone, the novel tackles one of the most troubling issues of our times: how the elderly are cared for in the UK.  What did you think about how this subject was presented?

What Milo Saw is a book about everyday people living ordinary lives in a typical British town.  In what ways does the novel capture the spirit of how we live now?

Is the ending of What Milo Saw satisfying?

Additional questions

Consider how you currently choose a book for your reading group – do you go for a new release, a classic, do you take it in turns to pick? Do you think it would be different if you had blind or partially sighted members of the group?  How do you think it would differ?

Only seven per cent of books are currently available in formats that are accessible to blind and partially sighted people. This figure includes large print, unabridged audio and braille, and formats such as eBooks.

How do you think this might limit your choice as a reading group especially as even a new big release often doesn’t appear in an ‘accessible format’ for several months?

Every 15 minutes someone in the UK begins to lose their sight and with that the ability to read the written word. When you lose your sight, reading everything – from a cash machine screen, to a newspaper, to a book – can become impossible. As a reading group how can we look to help change this story and make more books accessible to blind and partially sighted people?