Jennifer Rosner’s revelatory memoir explores family, silence, and what it means to be heard.
When her daughters are born deaf, Rosner is stunned. Then she discovers a hidden history of deafness in her family, going back generations to the Jewish enclaves of Eastern Europe. Traveling back in time, she imagines her silent relatives, who showed surprising creativity in dealing with a world that preferred to ignore them.
Rosner shares her journey into the modern world of deafness, and the controversial decisions she and her husband have made about hearing aids, cochlear implants, and sign language. An imaginative odyssey, punctuated by memories of being unheard, Rosner’s story of her daughters’ deafness is at heart a story of whether shea mother with perfect hearing will hear her children.
If a Tree Falls is a look into the world of the deaf from the point of view of a hearing parent. Having had little to no experience with the deaf community (a deaf pen pal when I was younger is about it), I found this book both touching in its descriptions of love and long of the author for her parents and for her daughters and informative into the modern world of deaf culture.
This short biography is a great read for anyone interested in deafness, parenting, bonding... anyone, really.
Anne Marie Lee did a great job with this book - perfectly modulated with bursts of emotion when needed.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This story went beyond deafness in my opinion to revealing the often hidden truth that even hearing people don't feel heard or seen! Hearing people often struggle with hearing others, especially those that are closest to them, due to identities they created of themselves from childhood experiences that sometimes hinder the process of truly hearing!
"If a Tree Falls" is not a maudlin tearjerker, but a matter-of-fact account of hearing parents coming to terms with having two deaf children, as well as an inquiry into the lives of deaf people in the author's own familial past.
Jennifer Rosner has a Ph.D. in philosophy and she uses her experiences with her daughters as a jumping off point to explore her family history and relationships, what it means to communicate: what is hearing and what is listening. She makes her experience: universal.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful