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Mean Little deaf Queer: A Memoir Hardcover – June 1, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


This is a damn fine piece of work which is unbelievably powerful.—Dorothy Allison

"This is not your mother's triumph-of-the-human-spirit memoir. Yes, Terry Galloway is resilient. But she's also caustic, depraved, utterly disinhibited, and somehow sweetly bubbly, a beguiling raconteuse who periodically leaps onto the dinner table and stabs you with her fork. Her story will fascinate, it will hurt, and you will like it."—Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home

"The most uncomfortable laughter of the season."—Out

"One of the finest, most nakedly honest and humorous autobiographies out there to be read. . . . Partly David Sedaris-esque in its slice-of-life essay moments, part slapstick farce, so very real, and always laugh out loud hilarious."—Rebecca Sarwate, Edge

"[A] humorous and harrowing new memoir."—The Advocate

"Told with understandable rage, quirky humor, and extraordinary humanity, this remarkable woman's engaging account deserves a large readership."—Booklist

"A frank, bitingly humorous memoir."—Kirkus Reviews

"[Galloway] is dexterous in her use of words and devastating with a sense of black humor that brings numerous laugh-out-loud delights."—John R. Killacky, The Gay and Lesbian Review

"Galloway was born a storyteller, and her narrative gifts are in full force throughout, spinning yarns about herself and her family that mesmerize."—Robert Faires, Austin Chronicle

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About the Author

Terry Galloway is the founder of the Actual Lives writing and performance programs; a founding member of Esther’s Follies, Austin, Texas’s legendary cabaret; and cofounder of the Mickee Faust Club in Tallahassee, Florida. She divides her time between Austin and Tallahassee.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (June 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807072907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807072905
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #452,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I loved this book, because it made me laugh and made me cry. It caught me in the throat more than once, as it fully and articulately revealed the challenges of disability and of becoming oneself. Galloway writes with such wit and intelligence and honesty. The prose carries you along and then surprises again and again. It is wonderful. Galloway says stories were the currency of her family. The richness of her own storytelling is evidence that she has indeed prospered from that legacy. Although many chapters stand out in my mind, the final one has lodged itself inside my heart.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mean Little deaf Queer is remarkable -- this memoir transmutes Terry Galloway's unique, quirky, anguished, sometimes goofy but nevertheless powerful individual narrative into a larger exploration of the way we tell stories to ourselves and to others in order to construct our places in the world.

Terry as a child experienced moments when she was transported out of her body -- later, she engaged in an elaborate exploration of how to transport herself back into her body, to live in the world as the person she was. At the same time, in theater, she was transported again by the powers of drama and comedy. (There is a passage about performance of Shakespeare in a barn in Texas that magnificently captures such a moment.) The reader will be transported as well.

A word about the prose: Many people who are familiar with Galloway's work in theater, even work that she herself has authored or co-authored, think of her primarily as a performer. Here you get to experience her as a pure writer, finding another channel through which to link her life and wisdom to ours. Her writing is itself a performance -- a high-wire act in which the challenge is not to fall into self-absorbed sentiment on the one side or the glib, easy laugh on the other. Galloway meets that challenge and exceeds it in a way that, again and again, will take your breath away. Her writing is lyrical, precise, and relentlessly expressive.

I've known Terry for about 30 years, so this isn't an objective review. But it is a fair one, because I wouldn't praise a book -- even a friend's book -- unless I thought it deserved praise. Mean Little deaf Queer deserves very high praise indeed.
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Format: Hardcover
I really liked the first half of Terry Galloway's Mean Little deaf Queer, but I found the 2nd half of the book fairly rambling and tedious to get through. I think Ms. Galloway has a ton of great stories to tell, and those that she does tell in full description are funny (not so much laugh out loud funny, perhaps more bemusing) and interesting and really catch the reader's attention. When she goes on her tangents after starting a story and bounces around, it can be somewhat hard to figure out if she's remembering the past or switching her main story or what the heck is going on. I almost felt like the bulk of this memoir was an outline for her to go back and expand upon. I would love to read more stories about her youth and her family as well as her theatre days and all her relationships (tortured and not).

I never felt this was a "pity me" memoir but more, this is how it was, this is my life, this happened, so deal with it. Her honesty with the lowest points in her life and very refreshing insomuch that she didn't wallow in the low points as much as state that they happened.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in reading about someone's life that is definitely "alternative" (a term she uses a lot). It's not for the faint of heart or the prissy, so if those who get their sensibilities all bent out sort because of the smallest thing probably should pass this book by.

I hope Ms. Galloway writes more and centers her writing on specifics of her life instead of trying to encompass so much in so little space.
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Format: Hardcover
I've never written a review before but I enjoyed this book so much I had to tell everyone about it. It was laugh out loud funny, terribly sad and poignant all at the same time. I even found myself reading passages out loud to friends and family because they were so beautifully crafted. Here a few of my favorite moments:

*As a young child in Germany, the author's vocabulary was so advanced that a neighbor thought she was a dwarf. I almost peed my pants on that one!
*In the story of the author's sister and her fabulous husband encouraging her to accept a theater scholarship, my favorite line: "It was as if Zeus had seconded Hera." What a fantastic thing to say.
*In the chapter titled "Drag Acts," the description of what actually happens to artists and audiences when the stars align was one of the best illustrations of that moment I've ever read. It made me think that someone who has no knowledge or understanding of the transformative power of art would be able to get what it's all about after reading that passage. It made me cry then and it makes me cry now as I'm remembering it.
*When re-telling anecdotes of the author's brief stint as a hostess, her solution to the resulting mayhem was to "operate on the honor system." She's a girl after my own heart and I found myself repeat that punch line over and over again, giggling to myself all the while.
*I loved the "miracle of the ponds" story and I cried for the author and her family while reading the description of her father's last days. I'm sure he is terribly missed! He seems like a wonderful man.
*I found personal meaning in chapter titled "The Shallow End" and the author's rant on the "them" who canonize both people with disabilities and those who offer their support.
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