Finding Abby

Virginia M. Scott, Author
Virginia M. Scott, Author Butte Publications $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-884362-35-4
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Tough lessons are learned about the way the differently abled (in this case, the deaf), are treated, in this workmanlike novel published by a press that aims to ""specialize in educational materials on deafness and select fiction that casts light onto the many facets of hearing loss."" Stricken with meningitis at age 14, Abby Jensen suffers severe hearing impairment, a particularly devastating affliction since Abby is a musical prodigy with a passion for the piano. When, two years later, it appears that Abby has committed suicide, her older sister Paige is determined to discover why. As Paige embarks on a mission of interviewing friends, teachers and medical professionals, her own feelings of guilt are balanced by the insights she gains into the isolation, pain and frustration that had become her sister's life. Paige's quest alternates with Abby's own testimony (via her journal) of what it feels like to be both guinea pig and poster child for well-meaning parents, doctors and friends. Effective storytelling is generally sacrificed to the repetitive educational message, and a melodramatic climax does not help the tale's overall appeal. More a prescription for behavior than a conventional novel, this earnest work could be a reference tool for anyone who is interested in the process of how, and how best to help, people adapt to a hearing-impaired life. (Mar.)
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