This is a really, really good look into the world of deaf culture - a world most of us are completely ignorant of. Well written and extremely informative. Deals with the many controversies and political struggles within the deaf world. Well worth your attention
The inside look at the Lexington School is only a part of this book. The author weaves its history with her own (she only lived at the school until she was 7, and did not learn to sign there), her father's (he is the superintendent of the school, and the hearing son of deaf parents), an inner-city student named James, and a Russian-born, multi-lingual deaf girl named Sofia. James' family gives him no support; at times there is not even enough food to go around. If he could hear, would he be in jail with his brother, or peddling drugs? Did his deafness save him from the culture of his family, and does he see that as a good thing? Sofia's parents, who do not sign, speak Russian at home. They do not support Sofia learning Hebrew so she can have a bat mitzvah, nor do they want her to go to college and leave them stuck with a younger deaf daughter that Sofia has been raising for them. Which culture does Sofia belong to: Jewish, Russian, American, or Deaf? Is it more important to fulfill her own potential, or her parents' wishes? All in all, a very interesting book.
This was an excellent book on some major events in Deaf culture and the history of the Lexington School for the Deaf in New York. Ms. Cohen acts as narrator and translator throughout the book and talks about the shift the school goes through from being strictly an oral school, to developing their manual curriculum and all the controversies in between the two. A definate eye-opener for those who are not familiar with Deaf history, culture and lifestyles.
Written by the daughter of an administrator for the Lexington School for the Deaf in NYC, this book is truly an insider's experience as she and her two siblings are raised within the residential portion of the school. Although Leah and her family have normal hearing, they are integrated into the deaf ASL culture at Lexington. Her essays address topics relating to mainstreaming in public schools, the beauty and versatility of American Sign Language, cultural aspects relating to deafness and language, and funding difficulties for public residential schools. I highly recommend this thought-provoking memoir.
I had this book on my shelf for several years before finally getting around to reading it. For me, it is such a joy when an author can make a non-fiction book compelling enough to me that I read all the way through it, just as engrossed as if it were a novel. This book definitely fit that description. The story of the Lexington School, the students and staff, is really fascinating. As much as a person disconnected from the deaf community can, I feel that I gained some understanding of the trials of growing up deaf in a hearing family, and of the joy of being a deaf person surrounded by a supportive deaf community and culture. Ms. Cohen, a hearing person, was immersed in the Lexington School and the deaf community much of her early life, but she doesn't pretend to understand everything, which made her writing all the more credible. The history of the evolution of the deaf culture and of the various controversies within the deaf community and between deaf and hearing groups was also so interesting, and was skillfully woven in among other parts of the story.
very informative and well written look inside deaf culture.
An interesting presentation on just what one deaf school was like and how the oral method alone can be a sham.