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Of sound mind

by Ferris, Jean, 1939-2015

Format: Print Book 2001
Availability: Available at 2 Libraries 2 of 2 copies
Available (2)
Location Collection Call #
Carnegie Library of McKeesport Young Adult Fiction YA F FER
Location  Carnegie Library of McKeesport
 
Collection  Young Adult Fiction
 
Call Number  YA F FER
 
 
Springdale Free Public Library Young Adult Fiction YA FERR
Location  Springdale Free Public Library
 
Collection  Young Adult Fiction
 
Call Number  YA FERR
 
 
Summary
A poignant novel partially set in a world of silence
High school senior Theo is fluent in two languages: spoken English and sign. His parents and brother, Jeremy, are deaf, but Theo can hear, which has over the years cast him in the role of interpreter for his family. Unfortunately, it's not a welcome duty, especially in the case of his mother, Palma. She is a successful sculptor who, being deeply suspicious of "hearies," expects Theo to act as her business manager. And Jeremy relies on Theo for company and homework help. It's become especially frustrating lately because Theo has met a fascinating new girl at school, Ivy, with whom he wants to spend as much time as possible. Theo's father, Thomas, is the only one who has never burdened him, but that changes when Thomas has a stroke. Palma, frightened and self-absorbed, cannot bring herself to nurse her husband, leaving Theo with the full burden to bear. But with the help of Ivy and some of her friends, Theo is finally able to change his family's dynamics and find time to plan his future.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Gr. 6-9. Change with a capital C comes crashing down on a high-school senior, the only hearing member of his family. Forced since childhood into the twin roles of interpreter and, sometimes, caretaker, Theo finds himself doing a bit of wing stretching after meeting Ivy. Ivy can both hear and sign, but she also makes friends easily and is such a self-starter that she's already running a small catering business. Then Theo's loving, affectionate father suffers a stroke, leaving him suddenly in charge of a dependent younger brother, a semi-invalid parent, and, hardest of all, a demanding, high-strung, seriously unstable mother. Although Ferris warns at the outset that this is "not a factual discussion of the complexities of deafness," those complexities twine about every relationship and situation here. But she does more than "inform"; along with a sensitive portrayal of the dynamics within Theo's family, she creates a cast of characters who are shaped by much more than their ability or inability to hear. This is, then, both a thought-provoking study of just when being deaf matters and when it does not, and an unusually rich coming-of-age story that explores universal issues of family responsibility, emotional maturation, love, and loss. --John Peters"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In this emotionally taut novel Ferris (Bad; Eight Seconds) chronicles the conflicts of high school senior Theo, caught between the hearing and deaf worlds. Theo, who can hear and who knows sign language, often finds himself in a burdensome and exhausting position in a family in which everyone else is deaf. For example, at age 11 he negotiated the purchase of his parents' house when he "didn't know what a lot of terms he had to use even meant, much less how to sign them to his parents." Theo forms a romantic relationship with a new girl, Ivy, who also signs because she has a deaf father, and his own stoic, peacemaking father suffers a stroke. These two events motivate Theo to assert himself against his domineering mother, Parma. Ferris effectively establishes the manners and mores of the deaf community and American Sign Language, using examples such as Parma's rudeness when she clasps her youngest son's hands to shut him up, and describing the signers' habit of watching facial and body language intently and their suspicions about "hearies." An eclectic and appealing cast of characters, including the bickering retirees Harry and Hazel, propel the drama. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Deaf -- Fiction.
People with disabilities -- Fiction.
American Sign Language -- Fiction.
Family problems -- Fiction.
Friendship -- Fiction.
Publisher New York :Farrar Straus Giroux,2001
Edition 1st ed.
Language English
Description 215 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN 0374355800
0374455848 (pbk.)
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