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Review: Deafening by Frances Itani

Deafening by Frances Itani is on the Canada Reads list over at CBC.
That’s why I bought the book, but I realized a couple weeks ago that it
is also the February selection for my book club.

I essentially read the book in two sittings. That is a rare thing. It’s
probably rarer that I actually finish a book. Anyway, it’s certainly an
indication that the book was enjoyed. I found the flow of the book to be
easy to follow and relaxing; the author’s descriptions were excellent;
the plot wasn’t really anything special, but she made it feel that way.

The first part (or two parts?) was basically the childhood and
growing-up stages of the main character, Grania. I really loved reading
this part and seeing how the little deaf girl learned to navigate the
world around her and to “see” how others acted towards her. When it
reached the point when she was all grown-up and married and her husband
was about to leave for war, I was afraid I’d lose interest because WWI
isn’t really an area I’m interested in reading/learning about. Despite
that there are a few icky descriptions of the horrors of war, it wasn’t
too bad and it did give an interesting perspective. The fact that there
were now two storylines, one following Grania and one following her
husband Jim, did not distract me. They seemed to work well together. I
really appreciate all the research the author did to get all the aspects
of the setting, the war and deaf school so detailed.

So Deafening is basically a feel-good book, or at least what I would
call one. Characters go through hardships and troubles but eventually it
all turns out ok.

This is the second book from the Canada Reads list that I’ve read, the
other being a Complicated Kindness. I’d have to say between these two
books, I’d definitely go with Deafening. I’m still waiting for Three Day
Road to come in at work and I’ll probably borrow Cocksure and the poetry
book from the library (I don’t enjoy poetry).

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About Jen

An instructor, a reader, a dog-owner, and advocate; that's how I define myself and these aspects directly impact my interests and conversations.

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