- File Size: 540 KB
- Print Length: 217 pages
- Publication Date: September 1, 2011
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B005KO1HU8
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,144,232 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Deaf Eye Satisfy Kindle Edition
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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Some of the attitudes that parents had shocked me. If I had a deaf child I would learn ASL or some form of sign language in order to communicate with my child. I would feel like a horrible parent if I didn't. It amazes me that people can care so little for their children that don't have an interest in learning how to communicate with them. You might not be able to fix deaf ears, but you can fix a communication gap by learning to sign. It's a matter of focusing on what "can" be done verses dwelling on what "can't." We don't need ears to communicate, we just need enough heart to be willing to learn to sign.
The narrator, Skip Verde, is clearly a stand-in for author Chip Green, and many of the scenes have the authenticity of lived experience. Skip is an English teacher in a high school for the deaf. He doesn't have a degree in Deaf education, although he is fluent in ASL, so he's something of a maverick. At first, he bonds more easily with the Hard of Hearing kids who have a better grasp of English, but he soon chafes at the curriculum which emphasizes English grammar only. He wants to help the students express their inner selves through literature, so he conceives of the idea of having them act out short scenes from poetry, plays, or literature in ASL, to help them get in touch with their artistic, creative sides. The principal and school counselor get involved, and suddenly everyone has a stake in the project, even as the kids start to get really into it. Meanwhile, Skip finds himself starting to understand the "deep Deaf" kids better, ie, the native ASL speakers. But the project is polarizing both among the other teachers who each have their own ideas about Deaf education and the parents who care only about getting their kids' grammar good enough for college.
The story illuminates many aspects of Deaf culture: the differences between ASL and English, discrimination, especially in the past and how it still affects Deaf adults, the divide between Deaf and HOH, and between Deaf and hearing, hearing parents who don't communicate with their kids, the problems of a shrinking residential school as more kids are mainstreamed, as well as past abuses at residential schools. I really liked how the author rendered ASL literally, rather than translating it into idiomatic English. It really gives a sense of how ASL works and how it's different from English.
However, the writing is problematic. This book desperately needs an editor. There are a ton of typos, at least one on every page. Even worse, there are many diction errors, and a lot of places where the writing is so convoluted it's impossible to tell what is happening or who is talking. But there are bigger thematic problems too. Skip wants desperately to be accepted by his Deaf colleagues and students, and to understand them better. But the author's allegiance to Skip's POV takes the story in some unfortunate directions. There's the militant Deaf teacher who's painted as a complete villain, no nuance at all. Skip also has nothing but scorn for the hearing people who are starting to learn ASL but are not yet fluent-they are annoying and shown having wrong motivations (unlike Skip, of course). It reminded me of Americans who live abroad in non-English speaking countries and try to prove how down they are with the local culture by shunning all contact with fellow Americans, like they are the only ones cool enough to hang with the locals. The thing that disturbed me the most was after Skip decides his former respect for the HOH students was misguided because it was based only on their superior grasp of English, he starts to actively hate them. So it's ok for him as a teacher to just hate the HOH kids? He spends all his time trying to reach a few of the Deaf kids, but the ones who are less connected to Deaf culture he just stops caring about.
All in all, it's an interesting book for its depiction of Deaf culture, but the amateurish writing really undercuts it.
People. Many "Bravos" to the author..