What's That Pig Outdo

Henry Kisor, Author, Walker Percy, Foreword by
Henry Kisor, Author, Walker Percy, Foreword by Hill & Wang $18.95 (270p) ISBN 978-0-8090-9689-3
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
Genial and moving, sharp and witty, Kisor's memoir defies pigeonholing of the deaf by hearing and deaf persons alike. The book editor of the Chicago Sun-Times , who lost all aural ability at the age of three after suffering meningitis, Kisor characterizes himself as ``a minority within a minority,'' an oralist without knowledge of sign language who relies on spoken language and lip-reading to live and work amid the hearing. Trained by his mother in the then-maverick reading-based Mirrielees system and educated in hearing classrooms, he indicts the paternalistic deaf educators of his youth who fostered an ``oral-or-nothing'' means of communication for the deaf, although he also finds alarming the ``new orthodoxy'' of today's separatist signing deaf culture. With unflinching candor and telling details, Kisor cites the ways in which being deaf among the hearing shaped his personal and professional experiences: his humiliating impotence when his wife, undergoing an induced delivery of a stillborn baby, confronts insensitive medical personnel; a bout with alcoholism; his flexible interviewing skills, which are tested, for example, when he must negotiate a dialogue with writer Edward Hoagland, a chronic stutterer. (May)
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