Wednesday 27 June 2012

Book review - Whisper by Chrissie Keighery

'Whisper' by Chrissie Keighery
Published by Templar Publishing
RRP £6.99 (paperback)
ISBN 9781848775466
Reviewed by Lynsey Evans

15-year-old Demi’s life is turned upside down forever, when she is left profoundly deaf caused by a sudden illness. After struggling at mainstream school, where despite her friends’ best intentions, she is left out, and she’s falling behind as she can’t keep up even with Jules as her interpreter. Demi decides to attend The College for the Deaf and here a whole new world is opened up to her. Meeting new friends, having new experiences and finally achieving again at school, she can even dream that one day she can still become a lawyer.

Demi’s story has it’s ups and downs, from her trying to fit in with her hearing friends as well as her deaf friends, from her learning to cope with being deaf and still living with a hearing family and in a hearing world, to meeting a hearing boy and understanding that she can be loved despite her deafness.

This is a beautiful book, and for some this is reality and it’s an eye-opener. It’s quite a personal story and in places you almost feel like you are intruding too much into Demi’s silent world. There are moments of realisation and sadness for her loss – not being able to continue at mainstream school and how to dance when you can’t hear the music or hear people to talk to at a party or how she can't control her volume when speaking. The discrimination, ‘audism’, that she and her friends face. On the other hand there are moments of delight, such as Demi and Ethan, Demi realising that deafness hasn’t closed all the doors she thought it had, from seeing her world from her friends and families’ point of view and Demi’s nephew Harry, who is quite simply a little star. His closing sentence of the novel is one of the best I’ve read … “ ‘It doesn’t matter if she’s deaf,’ he says. ‘My aunty Demi can listen with her eyes, and whisper with her hands’.”.

Utterly fantastic and a must-read. Highly recommended for readers aged 11+

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