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Turn On the Light So I Can Hear Paperback – September 3, 2014
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From the Back Cover
Teri's books have received the following honors and distinctions:
--Lilith Magazine's 5th Annual Selection of Books for Young Readers
--Included in Great Books for Girls, by Kathleen Odean
--Included in Best Jewish Books for Children and Teens, by Linda R. Silver
"A simple but daring adventure." Voice of Youth Advocates
Guilty? Crime, Punishment, and the Changing Face of Justice
--Junior Library Guild selection
About the Author
Teri writes novels, short stories, essays, stories for children, nonfiction for both children and adults, and lots of appellate briefs. Her stories and essays have appeared in publications as diverse as Education Week, Scope Magazine, The Iowa Review, Cricket Magazine, and The American Literary Review.
Her law practice is limited to representing indigents onappeal from adverse rulings.
She lives in California near the beach with her husband, herson, and a dog named J.J.
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Top customer reviews
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The strength of this book, which alternates scenes from Bretna's childhood and youth with her unstable and occasionally abusive parents with her present, is its discussion of the pros and cons of deaf culture. Alex is struggling in school but his high-achieving parents believe he can get into Harvard. They do not want him to go to a school for the deaf and learn proper sign language. They insist on him being mainstreamed and taking classes above his capability. Breton helps him -- but maybe too much.
Curtis believes deaf people should stick together, develop their own culture, language, poetry and society. He has sworn never to date a hearing person. He believes deaf people in a hearing world will always be second class citizens. The author looks at both of these extreme positions and opts for a compromise somewhere in the middle.
The weakest part of the book is in its human connections. This is a very "quiet" book, by which I mean that the dialogue, interactions and characters themselves all seem muted. Perhaps that's intentional in a novel that discusses the hearing and non-hearing worlds and their interactions. But the colors of the book are also muted. I'm sure the author describes what Bretna and Curtis look like -- but I never formed a picture in my mind of living, breathing people. This book suffers from a lack of passion and vibrancy. It also ends with a series of pat, easy resolutions. I had the feeling there could and should have been much more there than there actually was.
Through her journey in the deaf/hearing world of needy teen, Alex, and Curtis, her sign language instructor, Bretna strives to understand the rift between hearing/deaf so she can become a better interpreter. But we also learn that Bretna comes from a fractured family and it is this disconnect that further draws the reader into Bretna''s personal dilemma that colors all her world---and, as an art student--Bretna is quite aware of colors! On the path of her own education and through her art, we can see Bretna as a more aware person.
Alex, Bretna's charge, is well-portrayed as a floundering, insecure teen. Granted he has a physiological defect, but Kanefield draws him perfectly in his posture and attitude as a teen trying to fit in.
Love interest and non-hearing Curtis is a proficient signer juxtaposed with Bretna's abilities. Their conflict (& discussions) add to the story's dimension, and to the reader's better understanding of what it must be like to be deaf in a hearing world.
Overall, the story is unique and interesting, and the characters are well drawn. The lack of necessary transitions between some scenes is a little off-putting, but overall, the story displays a very real conflict in, perhaps, a subject area not readily thought about by deaf and hearing alike.
I encourage you to read this one!