Out of Darkness


Short-listed for the 2011 Golden Oak Award

From the moment three-year-old Jeff Healey first laid a guitar across his lap in what was to become his signature style, it was clear he was no ordinary kid. Losing both eyes to retinoblastoma, a rare form of cancer, opened a door to another world for Jeff, a newly adopted infant. Out of darkness he created music, becoming one of the most influential blues-rock and jazz performers of our time, beginning with his first hit album, See the Light.

In this up-close and personal account, loaded with never-before-seen photographs, memorabilia, and intimate recollections of family, friends, and fellow musicians, we discover this unique music icon’s dynamic career, which saw him collaborate with everyone from George Harrison and Eric Clapton to B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan. From Jeff’s lonely start one snowy night at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Toronto to his untimely end in the same building, we come away with a potent message of empowerment and a renewed sense of hope.


Golden Oak Award
Dewey Diva Pick
Supplementary Downloads


Out of Darkness is most successful when describing Healey's childhood and adolescence.

Quill & Quire

This introduction to the life and work of a legendary Canadian cannot but inspire the reader to reach outside the box to follow one's dreams. As a biography of a blind person, it inspires understanding, and this is a remarkable accomplishment in itself, especially since many potential readers will not have much first-hand experience with people who are blind or otherwise visually impaired.

Canadian Materials Magazine

[Out of Darkness] is a richly detailed overview of Healey's life.

Quill and Quire Books for Young People

Cindy Watson has pulled together an excellent and accessible book of [Jeff Healy's] life... This is a wonderful book. Watson brings Jeff Healy back to life for her readers. The reading level is easy and the style is smooth and thoughtful. Teens who are just picking up a guitar or have been playing for several years will find this book interesting and informative.

Resource Links (December, 2010)

This book works on many levels especially the educational component, which offers interaction. Watson has done a great deal of research and asks the reader to think outside the box, like Healey did, and to take risks and not to give up on their dreams.

Muskoka Magazine

About the Author

Cindy Watson

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014

Cindy Watson

Cindy Watson is the author of Misunderstood Animals. She has published for children with Skipping Stones magazine, Dovetail Press, and South Pacific Press. A labour lawyer, she lives in Utterson in Ontario's Muskoka region.