IN SILENCE: Growing Up Hearing In a Deaf World by Ruth Sidransky
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IN SILENCE: Growing Up Hearing In a Deaf World

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A compelling autobiography of a normal girl born to profoundly deaf parents, which evokes in intimate detail the unique world of the deaf and Sidransky's struggle to move from it to the larger ""normal"" world. Sidransky was born in N.Y.C. and grew up during the Depression. She learned sign language from her parents before she learned to talk and spoke in it until the age of five. What oral speech she had, she learned from her mother, who could only approximate language. Her literal translations of signed conversations with her mother, father, and deaf friends are unique to this book. Before she began school, her father encouraged her by describing his imagined wonders of hearing language and how she would learn to speak perfect English. He signed: ""School has big present, has big blue ribbon, open ribbon, learn to speak!"" When Sidransky entered school, she was placed in a class for the retarded because her words were incomprehensible. Eventually, through the intervention of her determined parents and an understanding principal, she was moved into a class for the gifted. The special inner world of her mother and father and their deaf friends with whom they were strongly bonded is described here in profound, painful, and exalting detail. Also, childhood in the Jewish shtetl of N.Y.C.--the men chanting Hebrew, slowly rocking and striking their breasts in unison in the storefront shuls; the carp that was kept live in the bathtub until the day before Psssover, when it was made into gefilte fish; her mother's memories of her own father, a carpenter, carving the Lion of Judah for a new synagogue--has probably not been so faithfully and completely described since Henry Roth's Call It Sleep (1934). A unique and finely written memoir, distinguished by its compassionate revelation of both a child's and the deafs' experience of the world.

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1990
ISBN: 1563682877
Publisher: St. Martin's