Sunday, September 21, 2008

Singing Hands by Delia Ray

image from LibraryThing
My good friend, Phyllis, recommended this book to me. She knows my connections to sign language. It's one of the new books in our school library this year.

Here is a great moment in time captured by the granddaughter of two deaf grandparents. So, it's based on many real family stories of Delia. The story centers around Gussie who hates that her deaf parents aren't like everyone else in Birmingham. It all comes to a head one hot summer. It begins with her humming loudly during the worship service at the deaf church where her father is the minister - she and her two hearing sisters are the only ones that can hear her.

Her nasty and obstinate side continues through clandestine searches through the boarders rooms upstairs and continues to her skipping Sunday school at the hearing church downtown. All this naughtiness comes to a screeching halt when she is discovered. Her punishment is a very eye-opening experience which changes the way she sees her family and her life.

I worked with hearing impaired students for 2 years in Ohio and lived with a hearing impaired adult. Nancy taught me sign language and a whole lot more. I think she would really like this book.

Nancy grew up in the mid 70s when signing was still not really very accepted. She went through hearing schools and was proud of her lip reading abilities. That is until she went to Galludet College in Washington DC. It was there that she understood and embraced what it meant to be deaf. She completely changed her life. She became a teacher of deaf children - starting a preschool for deaf kids in Wooster, OH. That's where I came to know her. Today, Nancy is teaching deaf children in Belize.

This book made me think about what life was like for Nancy - growing up different. When I lived in Ohio, Nancy and I went out to eat one time and sat at the table signing back and forth to each other. I didn't really think about it until the waitress came to our table and didn't know what to do. She stood and stared and then bent over and very carefully and clearly asked us for our order. There was a moment when I had to decide what to do... I answered her, she blushed and moved away. In that moment - I understood what it really felt like to be different - to be deaf.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mercy by Jodi Picoult

image from LibraryThing

WOW! This is one of those I couldn't put down - until I got mad! Then I stopped. I didn't want it to end. I wanted it to end. I wanted to go to sleep. I couldn't go to sleep. I was a mess! I don't know whether to thank Kim for recommending it or to be mad at her for messing with sleep again!

This is another amazing Picoult story. She has a way of drawing the reader in to a world that you didn't even know you wanted to experience. I am so impressed every time I read one of her books. Even the one I really didn't love (Tenth Circle) - still drew me in to the story!!

The story opens with a garage sale. A woman has taken every bit of her husband's paraphernalia out of the house and displayed it on the lawn to be sold... she is more interested in emptying the house than in making money. Because of that - everything but a few pairs of boxers is sold. When her husband comes home that night he sees the remains of the sale as his wife walks away across the lawn.

This is a story about that kind of all or nothing love. There seems to be no gray. A commitment can not be partial. So - the solution is just as complete.

Anyway - this is the story of two marriages with many similarities and startling differences. Jamie and Maggie enter the story as Jamie climbs out of the cab of his pickup in front of the police station announcing that he killed his wife who was sitting in the cab beside him. Cameron, the police chief and his overly devoted wife Allie react very differently to this moment. Cameron with the weight of his position as the chief of his clan and Allie as a woman who understands giving yourself for another person.

Then Mia, enters the story and Cam is tempted in a way he never expects.

You can probably guess what will happen and you will only be partially right.

Read it!!

This was chosen for our October Book club book - Booker Babes!