Alandra's Lilacs by Tressa Bowers
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
I honestly read this book because my son, who is studying to be an American Sign Language interpreter, was required to read it for a class. He lived in the Deaf Community for 2 years and is fluent in the language. I love ASL. He has helped me understand different aspects of the Deaf Culture I wouldn't have known or understood before. I have met so many members of the Deaf Community and they have been so loving and open to me as I learn ASL. So this book was interesting to read as it was written from the point of view of a mother of a deaf child born in the 60s when resources were so limited. What frustrated me while reading this book was the ignorance of the doctors, the educators, and society in general. The doctor said Alandra would never learn. The educators encouraged no gestural communication, and wanted Alandra to read lips and learn to speak. Basically, they wanted the Deaf to learn to live in a hearing world- which was and is very isolating. It was heartbreaking to read. Also the prejudice they encountered by society- even by her great-grandmother who didn't want to be around her because it "made her uncomfortable" made me feel the need to punch some people.
Overall, the writing was not very good. But, the story needed to be told. It is educational and eye-opening. It was awesome to watch the author's attitude change as she learned and understood more. I loved reading her big "Ah Ha!" moment when she visited Alandra at the Deaf school and saw how alive her daughter was and how much she was able to communicate with her friends via American Sign Language. A whole new world was opened to her through this language, now that she wasn't forced to try to live in a hearing world with hearing rules and hearing language. I loved it. :) I'm giving 3.5 stars because of the subpar writing, but the important message.
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