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Thursday, April 28, 2022

True Biz by Sara Novic

 

from description:  A transporting novel that follows a year of seismic romantic, political, and familial shifts for a teacher and her students at a boarding school for the deaf, from the acclaimed author of Girl at War.

True biz (adj/exclamation; American Sign Language): really, seriously, definitely, real-talk

I really enjoyed this novel, mostly for what I learned about the deaf community, its successes and its battles. 

 The first time I discovered the beauty of ASL was in college watching a family in a restaurant signing, later I saw the National Theater of the Deaf perform Dylan Thomas' A Child's Christmas in Wales on PBS.  Then there was Children of a Lesser God.  

For a year or so, I've been enjoying Nicky Elliot's videos "Signing to the Oldies" which are delightful.  This month, I happened on True BizBehind the Green Door.  The ASL is so smooth and I love the old songs that Nicky chooses.  

This month, I happened on True BizI learned much more about the history and evolution of sign language and its variations while reading True Biz as I followed the teachers and students at the fictional River Valley School for the Deaf.  I expect this renewed interest in ASL and the deaf community will result in one of the wandering literary itineraries I love.

I already wanted to see Coda, but now...even more so.

NetGalley/Random House

Fiction.  April 5, 2022.  Print length:  386 pages.


8 comments:

  1. I just read another positive review of this book yesterday! It's the whole boarding school for the deaf setting that really makes me want to read this one. :)

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    1. The best part of the novel was learning more about the history and the deaf community. It was a timely book since Coda won the award for best picture!

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  2. CODA is outstanding. I'm going to look for this book at the library. It sounds interesting.

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    1. I'm watching some Youtube videos on ASL and hope maybe I'll be able to catch a few signs when I see the film!

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  3. ASL has always fascinated me. This book sounds like a worthy use of the concept for its plot.

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    1. It is beautiful to watch signing, and I'm glad that so many ASL translators are being used now on important announcements. The history is truly amazing, especially as many children were punished for using sign and the cochlear implants are often viewed negatively in the deaf community for various reasons including the need for a surgery that isn't always successful.

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  4. This one reminds me of CODA, the 2021 movie that won Best Picture. CODA stands for Child of Deaf Adults, and it does a wonderful job showing what it's like to have to depend on sign language and serve as an interpreter for one's parents at a very early age. The main character's only sibling, a brother, is also deaf. Lots of sign language on display, even via singing since the main character aspires to be a singer. I'm going to see if my library will get a copy or two of this one.

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    1. Yes, I already wanted to see CODA, but after reading the book and looking at some ASL videos, I'm even more eager to see it! From Martha's Vineyard to Gallaudet University, the history of ASL and the deaf community is fascinating.

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