Friday, 6 July 2012

Whisper - Book Review

Whisper – Book Review
Chrissie Keighery
YA Contemporary
Fifteen-year-old Demi's world is shattered when she is left profoundly deaf by a sudden illness. Everything is different now, and Demi must learn to adapt to a new school, new friends and even learn a whole new language.

Whisper is a coming-of-age tale, about discovering who you are and where you fit in life. About friendships and first love and, most of all, learning to love the person you are.
Whisper is a truly touching novel that really opened my mind to the world around me. It forced me to consider how unique each person is and although we live in a multicultural society where everything is supposedly equal, this book highlights the discrimination and misunderstandings many others still have towards those who society view as “different”. 
The story begins with sixteen year old Demi who, after surviving a serious case of meningitis had her world shattered when the illness left her completely and irreversibly deaf. Now two years on she is still learning how to adapt to her new life of silence and sign language. She’s scared and insecure, and feels distanced from her old friends and family. Also other than her 3 year old nephew, no one seems to know how to act around her anymore. Therefore with her old way of life now lost to her, Demi makes the brave decision to join a school exclusively for the deaf where she begins to learn acceptance, confidence and the ability to judge people based on who they are, and not what they look like…
This book really moved me on so many levels. For example when Demi first arrives at her new school, she finds her fellow classmates odd, over the top and was even embarrassed to be seen with those who wore what she describes as ‘ugly’ cochlear implants and hearing aids. However as she gets to know and befriend them, Demi stops noticing their outward quirks and starts to realise that despite their deafness, inside their just normal teenagers with the same insecurities, dreams and problems as everyone else.
The characters were all very well written. Demi particularly was a great protagonist and it was interesting to read how she learned to cope with her deafness. She struggled with friendships as she felt ostracised from her old her friend’s - who only seemed to pity her. But felt closer to her new deaf friends who, despite having only known her a short while – understood her on every level. However I liked how as the story progressed, Demi learned to balance and draw on the best of both worlds.
Stella was another interesting character. Born deaf she has a dislike for ‘Hearies’ as she calls them, but she is also very righteous and inspirational. She does her best to stand up against audism however, as Demi wasn’t born deaf and still remains close to many ‘hearies’ she and Stella have a rocky friendship but slowly, they both learn to work together to achieve great things.
There was also an element of romance and I liked how despite peoples prejudices, Demi’s love interest Ethan didn’t care that Demi was deaf, proving to her that she was just as capable of having a normal relationship as anybody else.  
Mostly what shocked me about this book though was the bullying and discrimination that deaf people have to face. The injustice of some scenes really made my blood boil at how ignorant people can be but at the same time there were some really sweet scenes that I felt balanced the book out nicely. Especially the scene with Demi’s young nephew who wrote her a note that says;
“I am sore thit your eyas don’t work. I love you eniway.”
Those few words just about broke my heart. I love that in their innocence children can say the most profound things. And I also liked how eager the children were to learn sign language, especially as the author Chrissie Keighery describes the movements of sign in such a way that it was easy for me to put the book down and try them myself.
So overall a truly brilliant read. Emotional and thought provoking, Whisper is a story that will remain with you long after the last page is turned. 4 stars!
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
*Also guys please check back towards the end of the month where I will be participating in the Whisper blog tour where Chrissie Keighery will be stopping by to answer some questions! J

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like Mr. Holland's Opus! I love stories like this and your quotes are tugging my heartstrings