Long Time, No See is certainly an inspiring story, but Beth Finke does not aim to inspire. Eschewing reassuring platitudes and sensational pleas for sympathy, she charts her struggles with juvenile diabetes, blindness, and a host of other hardships, sharing her feelings of despair and frustration as well as her hard-won triumphs. Rejecting the label “courageous,” she prefers to describe herself using the phrase her mother invoked in times of difficulty: “She did what she had to do.”
With unflinching candor and acerbic wit, Finke chronicles the progress of the juvenile diabetes that left her blind at the age of twenty-six as well as the seemingly endless spiral of adversity that followed. First she was forced out of her professional job. Then she bore a multiply handicapped son. But she kept moving forward, confronting marital and financial problems and persevering through a rocky training period with a seeing-eye dog.
Finke’s life story and her commanding knowledge of her situation give readers a clear understanding of diabetes, blindness, and the issues faced by parents of children with significant disabilities. Because she has taken care to include accurate medical information as well as personal memoir, Long Time, No See serves as an excellent resource for others in similar situations and for professionals who deal with disabled adults or children.
"It's a story that reads like the Book of Job, but one doesn't find it in the Bible. One finds it in Urbana-based NPR commentator Beth Finke's new memoir, Long Time, No See...[The book] offers an insider's report on adaptation. How does a newly blinded woman know what she's doing when she's washing her hair? By distinguishing the shampoo from the conditioner with a single rubber band. How does she write and correspond with the world? By plugging a pocket-size speech synthesizer into a computer. How does she travel around the world? By forming an alliance with a guide dog named Pandora. What does she do for a living? She models nude for the art students at the local school, or she is a part-time coordinator of volunteers, or she works for a hospice, or she cares for infants in her home." -- Chicago Tribune Books "Be it her strength, her honesty, or her enduring sense of humor -- most likely a combination of all -- Beth Finke manages to tell her story in a way that shocks, informs, and inspires. She says things that others typically won't, and it is both refreshing and thought provoking. You will laugh, cry, and get angry with her, but mostly you will be left with respect and admiration. Long Time, No See is a fantastic read." -- Strong Women Newsletter, April 2003, strongwomen.com "Finke's frank accounting of life from a blind perspective gives a much-needed modern view of the visually impaired in our culture. She reminds us that never giving up the fight assures victory, regardless of the actual outcome of the struggle." -- Jazz pianist and composer Marcus Roberts