Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Turn on the Light So I Can Hear by Teri Kanefield

Genre: Adult,  Romance
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

This is the third book I have reviewed for this author.  Each has been different. The main character in this book is Bretna.  She is an artist.  When her sculptures stop selling she looks for a job to pay the bills. She needs a job that will pay a certain amount and allow her to continue to work on her art.  The solution to her problem? Take a job paying $18 an hour as an interpretor for a deaf student. Bretna has one major problem.  She has taken the job by allowing them to believe she is qualified to work with this student, yet she has no sign language experience.  Her solution is to take a class and private lessons.  Thank goodness she is a quick learner.  I thought it funny that she realized  Alex’s signing ability was sloppier than hers.   Alex just wants to fit in like any other student. He reminded me of a seventh grader I had who insisted on doing everything her hearing classmates did.  She refused to allow her disability to define her.

Bretna shares a room with two other young ladies.  The newest roommate, Rosie adds lots of drama to the mix.  She just keeps going back to the same type of person. Curtis was her sign language instructor.  It was only a matter of time before a relationship was built.  Curtis didn’t necessarily agree with what Bretna’s plans were.  However, after seeing that she really cares for Alex’s education, things move forward.  She seems to be able to motivate both Curtis and Alex to take chances in their lives. I had an issue with her contact at the school.  She had a deaf son who was personal friend’s with Alex’s parents.  She didn’t agree with them allowing Alex to go to a regular high school.  She thought they should only let him attend schools that were for the deaf.  She believed in isolating them. I think she hindered Alex’s progress in many ways.  She almost seemed spiteful when it came to changing Alex’s classes.  That would be my take on it from an educator’s perspective.

It would be interesting to find out if the author has any background in art.  She speaks about different people in colors.  It is funny because I really understood that.  The art relationship was very intriguing.  Her writing is so descriptive that I could picture her sculptures and her drawings. Bretna’s issues with her family were heartbreaking.  The fact that she’d had a fairly severe hearing problem helped her understand Alex and Curtis’s world better.  When she talked about her surgery to restore part of her hearing I understood.  My son was not even a year old when he had to have tubes put in his ears.  I remember coming back from the hospital a semi drove by and my son put his hands over his ears.  As he began to talk we realized there were so many sounds he could not hear.  Soft Ps, Vs, Ts.

I was able to understand a lot of this from Bretna’s viewpoint.  I learned the sign language alphabet when I was very young.  My grandmother was deaf.  She had meniere’s disease.  She was an expert at reading lips.  I learned to talk slowly to those with hearing deficits as I had my grandmother.  This was an extremely enjoyable book.  It is one I will probably read again. 

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