Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Date: April 2, 2004
it at Amazon
Notes: Many major deaf characters
Of Sound Mind
By Jean Ferris
is a high school senior. Hes also a CODA (child of deaf adults).
His parents are deaf, so is his younger brother. His mother is a
famous sculptor and a prima donna. Theo is the family interpreter.
By age eighteen, hes emotional drained, to the point of avoiding
a pretty girl named Ivy when she signs to him. He likes her but
doesnt want to take on another deaf person.
dad is deaf. The two of them just moved to town. When she sees Theo
signing to himself, she thinks hes deaf. When Ivy finally
approaches Theo, they discover neither is deaf. Ivy thinks she has
a new friend that understands the deaf. Someone she can be comfortable
with, without explaining deafness. She discovers Theo is tired and
wants to, more or less, step away from deafness. He doesnt
like talking about deafness all the time and he doesnt want
to be known as the guy who signs, because its not who he is.
Ivy resents his attitude.
attitude comes from a life of interpreting for his family and putting
up with his mother, who feels her identification in life is as an
artist, not as a mother. Shes cheap and demanding, even during
a crisis, and Theo is usually the one to carry the burden. Theos
father tries not to bother him too much. He loves his sons and enjoys
spending time with them. Theo sees his father as a strong, quiet
man. His hands are not his language but his life, and this is one
reason Theo finds himself resenting those who learn the occasional
sign for the fun of it.
and Ivy both have issues, and they come face to face with them,
through each other. Ivy is there to support Theo as his family goes
through some serious changes, and Theo helps Ivy deal with a hearing
Sound Mind is a remarkable, heart wrenching read for teens,
young adults and adults. The deaf culture is accurate and the situations
very, very life like. Readers can expect an honest, sensitive look
into both the deaf and hearing cultures. They can also expect to
come away with a better understanding of the Deaf and their culture.
I highly recommended this one to all libraries.