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In 1959, the year Terry Galloway turned nine, the voices of everyone she loved began to disappear. No one yet knew that an experimental antibiotic given to her mother had wreaked havoc on her fetal nervous system, eventually causing her to go deaf. As a self-proclaimed "child freak," she acted out her fury with her boxy hearing aids and Coke-bottle glasses by faking her own drowning at a camp for crippled children. Ever since that first real-life performance, Galloway has used theater, whether onstage or off, to defy and transcend her reality. With disarming candor, she writes about her mental breakdowns, her queer identity, and living in a silent, quirky world populated by unforgettable characters. What could have been a bitter litany of complaint is instead an unexpectedly hilarious and affecting take on life.
Would you listen to Mean Little Deaf Queer again? Why?
I would listen to this book again, because there are a lot of things that intrigued me.
What did you like best about this story?
I really loved her descriptions of going deaf, and what that felt like as a child, and what the motivation was for many of her actions. I loved the strange stories of her family, and her total honesty about points in her life that others might hide. I also liked her explanations of Deaf/deaf experiences. I really enjoyed the first half of the book as it felt a bit more linear, and the story seemed more cohesive than at the end. I'm not necessarily a person who needs a very linear story, but the last half or so of the book often seemed a bit disjointed and I was having trouble tracking where we were in her life. At one point, the author is telling a story about the 2nd time she was left in a building with toxic chemicals, because no one informed her of an evacuation order, and I was expecting that story to come to a conclusion (it seemed it was building toward something major for that time of her life) but instead, zoom, went right to something from earlier in life. I kept expecting the story to meander back to the original incident but it never did (or if it did, I missed it).
Did Elizabeth Hess do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?
I am not a fan of this narrator. Her performance seemed monotone at times, and strangely overly affected at others. Her emphasis on certain words and syllables was also distracting. After hearing Terry Galloway speak in real life (youtube), I would have preferred her narrating the story, as her speech is completely understandable, and more animated.
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Would you try another book from Terry Galloway and/or Elizabeth Hess?
Yes, from Terry Galloway. Not from Elizabeth Hess unless it was a children's book or a book by Nigella Lawson...but I think Nigella would probably narrate her own book.
Where does Mean Little Deaf Queer rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
I listen to a lot of books and this is one of my all time favorites. I read this books as part of a homework assignment for an American Sign Language ASL course i took. The story is real and human and endlessly entertaining, (well, until it actually ends of course). The story helps explain some of the mysteries of deaf culture and brings to life the world of the non-hearing. It is also the story of a remarkable woman who loses her hearing as she gains her sexual compass.Behind labels though it is an honest account of how a human discovers, copes and eventually thrives in the face of adversary.
What other book might you compare Mean Little Deaf Queer to and why?
Jonathan Livingston Seagull-They both have blue on the cover
Which character – as performed by Elizabeth Hess – was your favorite?
Toad and Frog-I don't know, who came up with these questions?
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I think i did lol when Terry talks about using her deafness to get sympathy points.
The reader of this book is completely wrong for it. Lots of fake sincerity - everything this author is railing against. Don't know who cast the reader but someone got a payoff under the table. The book however was interesting enough to keep me going.
Terry Galloway is, despite her title, a complete charmer. Her memoir is like an indie movie that has everyone in stitches and simultaneously weeping at Sundance.
Terry grew up in the 1950s. Her mother had been given an experimental antibiotic while pregnant, which had adverse effects on her fetal nervous system. When Terry was nine, she began to lose her hearing. But being deaf wasn't going to stop Terry from having her big personality! Even though she was named the "child freak" of her town and faced the worst kind of prejudice, she managed to get back at everyone by faking her own drowning at summer camp. Now that takes balls.
I listened to Terry's coming out, mental breakdowns, all the colorful characters in her life, and kept thinking, "What's next?" She never disappointed.
Elizabeth Hess's reading is stunning. Measured and grave...until she goes in for the kill.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful