Seeing Eye Girl
A Memoir of Madness, Resilience, and Hope
Beverly J. Armento
As the “Seeing Eye Girl” for her blind, artistic, and mentally ill mother, Beverly Armento was intimately connected with and responsible for her, even though her mother physically and emotionally abused her. She was Strong Beverly at school—excellent in academics and mentored by caring teachers—but at home she was Weak Beverly, cowed by her mother’s rage and delusions.
Beverly’s mother regained her sight with two corneal transplants in 1950 and went on to enjoy a moment of fame as an artist, but these positive turns did nothing to stop her disintegration into her delusional world of communists, radiation, and lurking Italians. To survive, Beverly had to be resilient and hopeful that better days could be ahead. But first, she had to confront essential ethical issues about her caregiving role in her family.
In this emotional memoir, Beverly shares the coping strategies she invented to get herself through the trials of her young life, and the ways in which school and church served as refuges over the course of her journey. Breaking the psychological chains that bound her to her mother would prove to be the most difficult challenge of her life—and, ultimately, the most liberating one.