Thursday, June 4, 2015

Now I See You by Nicole C. Kear

Now I See You by Nicole C. Kear
Published: June 24, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 288
Received: for honest review (from last years review pile)

At nineteen years old, Nicole C. Kear's biggest concern is choosing a major--until she walks into a doctor’s office in midtown Manhattan and gets a life-changing diagnosis. She is going blind, courtesy of an eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, and has only a decade or so before Lights Out. Instead of making preparations as the doctor suggests, Kear decides to carpe diem and make the most of the vision she has left. She joins circus school, tears through boyfriends, travels the world, and through all these hi-jinks, she keeps her vision loss a secret.

When Kear becomes a mother, just a few years shy of her vision’s expiration date, she amends her carpe diem strategy, giving up recklessness in order to relish every moment with her kids. Her secret, though, is harder to surrender - and as her vision deteriorates, harder to keep hidden. As her world grows blurred, one thing becomes clear: no matter how hard she fights, she won’t win the battle against blindness. But if she comes clean with her secret, and comes to terms with the loss, she can still win her happy ending.        

Told with humor and irreverence, Now I See You is an uplifting story about refusing to cower at life’s curveballs, about the power of love to triumph over fear. But, at its core, it’s a story about acceptance: facing the truths that just won't go away, and facing yourself, broken parts and all.

Yet another book where I dogeared pages that I wanted to remember. 

I was drawn to this book, because after reading the synopsis and seeing that it was about a woman who was loosing her sight, I knew I needed to read it. I finally felt like someone was out that that I could feel kindred spirits with (though her scenario was much more dire than mine). 

My story - When I was in college I was in a car accident (as a passenger) where the airbag actually caused damage to my right eye. I was blind for a week which put me into shock and then slowly over the course of four years my sight came back. I now only have a small blind spot in the field of vision for my right eye, but the iris stays dilated all the time causing headaches. So my vision story is not the same, but I can remember feeling a lot of the same feelings as Nicole. And that no one could understand what you were going through.

Okay back to the book and my thoughts - Nicole has a a great way of telling a story and adding humour in the mix. Her writing style kept me engaged and that chapter titles were witty. It is definitely an easy read because you get so absorbed by her story.

Not once does she let you feel sorry for her. In the beginning, she completely runs her life by ignoring the fact that she will be slowly going blind over time. Her diagnosis upsets her, but it's as though if she tells no one about it then it can't be happening. After many mishaps and frustrations, she finally relents and lets her family and friends know, but still wants to be as independant as possible.

I think the best part of Nicole's story is her lust for life and experiences - to have traveled and experienced so much before she won't be able to see the wonders around her. She even had a bucket list of things to see before "lights out" that included: the eyes of her children, tons of destinations (like Paris and Venice), as well as little things like "Always Stop to Look at Sparkles in the Sidewalk" and "Read Absolutely Everything".

I loved that reading was important to her even though there are books with large text for when her vision starts to fail and audiobooks for when it's gone completely, but there is nothing like the written word when you adore reading and books as much as she does.

She also has tips written throughout the book and some are hilarious and others thoughtful. Like "Tip #7: On falling in love. No accommodations are necessary. Love is blind, just like you."

Pretty much the best thing about this book was seeing the courage it took to go through life making her own terms and coming to terms with the changes. It's freedom she gets once she accepts her fate, but doesn't give in completely. She still fights for the important things and makes she she experiences everything she can. 

I laughed and I cried. And I know this book will forever be on my KEEP shelf, so I can read it again when I need a reminder that things aren't as bad as they seem. It just takes courage to accept the things can't change and to adapt to enjoy everything that we can.

About the Author:
Nicole is the author of the new memoir Now I See You (St. Martin's), chosen by People magazine and Amazon as a Best New Book, and by Glamour, Redbook, Fitness and Martha Stewart Living as a Must-Read. Her work appears in the New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Psychology Today, Parents, American Baby, as well as Babble. Salon and xoJane. Her column, “Dispatches from Babyville,” has been running continuously for nine years in the Park Slope Reader. She chronicles her continuing mis-adventures in Mommydom on her blog, A Mom Amok.

A native of New York, she received a BA from Yale, a MA from Columbia, and a red nose from the San Francisco School of Circus Arts. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, three children and two feisty goldfish.

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