Blindness can be depressing. Why read a book about it? Well, for the reasons I read any book: to be entertained, to escape, to learn. I checked out Now I See You by Nicole C. Kear from the library this summer after my sister, who notices everything and makes sure I don’t miss out, read about it in a magazine and told me about it.
Let’s be honest. It took me weeks to read. Not because of my low vision, but because I enjoyed it. I didn’t want it to end. Kear writes scenes from her life as she recounts being diagnosed with and living with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), a degenerative retinal disease. Every chapter starts with a “Tip for the (Secretly) Blind,” reinforcing the comedic tone of the memoir and amusing me.
Many times throughout the book I felt a kinship to experiences she faced, like interactions at the eye doctor’s office.
A half hour later, she was tilting my head back and peering into my eyes with her flashlight. “Hmmm,” she murmured. “Hmmm.”
“What is it?” I asked. “Hmmm” is never what you want to hear in a doctor’s office.
She doesn’t want other people’s pity or grief, she has enough emotional weight herself, thank you. So she conceals her approaching blindness. She sets off to take in as much as she can in life to make up for the two decades when she, as we all tend to do with things are working out, took her vision for granted.
She writes in a conversational, relaxed style. It’s like sharing a cup of coffee with a friend–one minute you’re nodding emphatically and the next you’re holding your hand up, Stop!, because you’re laughing so hard you need a break to breathe. On her decision to hide her vision impairment, Kear writes:
“Of course, the transformation didn’t happen overnight, learning to make bad decions and do stupid shit, like anything else, takes practice.”
Kear’s decisions while dealing with vision loss didn’t always match up with mine such as her attitude towards orientation and mobility therapy. I was eager to start my lesson while she delayed and dreaded hers. It was all I could do but embrace the help available to me to figure out how to do this white cane stuff so I could get on with my life. No judgment, we’re different. It’s a book I can relate to as a woman dealing with vision loss. Also, I appreciate how Kear doesn’t try to sugarcoat or boost morale at every page turn. She’s honest and her individuality shows through.
I recommend Now I See You for anyone looking for a book that handles a serious subject with humor. As one of my favorite comics, Joan Rivers, once said, “Comedy is to make everybody laugh at everything and deal with things.” Everyone deals with adversity in her own way. Kear presents her choices with wit and determination in this modern memoir.
What did you think of Now I See You? If you haven’t read it, why not? Tell me about it.
Note: After I checked the library book out, I won a copy from the publisher, so I released the library’s copy back into circulation. I was under no obligation to review this book. For other books featuring a blind character, check out my Goodreads account on the right sidebar. I created a shelf listing books I’ve read or want to read with visually impaired people on the pages.