Literary Nonfiction. Memoir. Set mid-to-late 20th century (with the heart of the book set in the 1950s and '60s), MY FATHER'S EYES is a loving daughter's memoir of a family coming to terms with a legacy of blindness, and a father's heroic efforts to secure independence and dignity.
"Not many pages into this gloriously moving book, a feeling begins to grow that it would have been a humbling yet exquisite experience to have sat and talked with Biagio John Bonina. What his daughter Mary Bonina has given us is a solid and lasting portrait of a man who was simple and complicated. (That is not a contradiction once you come to know him.)... America is a country of grand men and women who live on a modest scale, and no one fits that category more than he does. Once his eyes began to fail him, he lived even more for his family and its welfare and his efforts and work make him in my mind, the kind of real hero we fail to glorify anymore. So enter this book and come to know her father and his dedicated overwhelmingly loyal daughter, as well as a large stage of family members and friends who are unforgettable and insanely knowable and human." Edward P. Jones
"Mary Bonina casts her considerable spell with exquisite sentences and unerring evocative details. She is a writer of inordinate compassion, formidable intelligence, and unflinching honesty. MY FATHER'S EYES documents a family's coming to grips with the legacy of blindness, a daughter's unflagging allegiance to her father, and one man's heroic determination to live a life of independence and quiet dignity despite obstacles that would crush the strongest of us. The book is an inspiration. When I finished reading it, I walked around for days seeing the world through its lens. Yes, it's that good. It's that important." John Dufresne
"Packard. Record player. Telephone party line. Fallout shelter. Holy Ghost. These and other blasts from the past make up the world of this beautiful, clear-eyed memoir that reads like a novel. It's partly the story of a girl who loved words on her way to becoming a writer. Of all the words in her universe, the most important were eyes and seeing, for this was a girl growing up with a beloved father going blind. Becoming his guide and his eyes, she becomes herself. And what a character he is We come to know him as if we're all his children, one minute consumed with terror at the dangers he faces, and the next minute awed by his courage, and the next exasperated by his human flaws. And ultimately, we see and feel for ourselves what his daughter means when she says, 'I know about love from being my father's eyes.'" Ellen Cooney.