Hands of My Father: A Hearing Boy, His Deaf Parents, and the Language of Love

Myron Uhlberg, Author
Myron Uhlberg, Author . Bantam $23 (232p) ISBN 978-0-553-80688-5
Reviewed on: 10/20/2008
Release date: 02/01/2009
Open Ebook - 163 pages - 978-0-553-90627-1
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In this memoir about growing up the son of deaf parents in 1940s Brooklyn, Uhlberg recalls the time his uncle told him he saw his nephew as “cleaved into two parts, half hearing, half deaf, forever joined together.” These worlds come together in this work, his first for adults, as Uhlberg, who has written several children's books (including Dad, Jackie, and Me , which won a 2006 Patterson Prize) effortlessly weaves his way through a childhood of trying to interpret the speaking world for his parents while trying to learn the lessons of life from the richly executed “Technicolor language” of his father's hands. With the interconnection of two different worlds, there is bound to be humor, and Uhlberg is able to laugh at himself and his family's situation. He recounts unsuccessfully trying to reinterpret his teacher's constructive criticism for his parents and finding himself pressed into duty interpreting the Joe Louis prize fights for his dad. There are, of course, more poignant moments, as Uhlberg tries to explain the sound of waves for his curious father or when he finds himself in charge of caring for his epileptic baby brother because his parents can't hear the seizures. As Uhlberg grows up through the polio epidemic, WWII and Jackie Robinson's arrival in Brooklyn, he also grows out of his insecurities about his family and the way they are viewed as outsiders. Instead, looking back, he gives readers a well-crafted, heartwarming tale of family love and understanding. (Apr.)

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