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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
Rosie Malezer is an astounding woman. She is a writer, proofreader, copy editor, blogger, and the author of seven books. She is also profoundly deaf. As such, she is certainly qualified to write a book titled How to be Deaf, but given that she is also legally blind, you have to ask yourself, how does Rosie do it?
Rosie Malezer can do all this because she is driven and doesn’t allow her limitations to prevent her from living a productive life. But, as she points out so clearly in How to Be Deaf, being productive and staying positive in a “hearing” world is an ever constant battle. For starters, the hearing world has a long way to go before realizing deaf people can’t just reach for the phone to call 911 if they’ve been hurt. The hearing world hasn’t recognized or budgeted for electronic devices in a deaf person’s home that will tell them someone is at the door, or a fire alarm is going off. And the hearing world doesn’t realize that the deaf person sees your mouth “flapping” as Rosie describes it, but hears none of what you say. And no, lip reading isn’t as easy as the hearing world thinks.
In How to be Deaf, Rosie Malezer raises the many issues faced by deaf people, from trying to have a conversation with loved ones, to learning sign language, to trying to find employment, and that last one is a huge problem. Even when deaf people are as educated and capable as Rosie is, they are passed over for lesser qualified applicants who can hear and be heard. And then there’s the cruel misconceptions that deaf people are mentally challenged ie. “deaf and dumb”, a horrid holdover from the past with no validity for so many who were born deaf or who have become deaf over the years. Rosie Malezer brings up so many issues, including the bullying and mockery suffered by deaf people. The hearing world in which they live can be so cruel.
It’s amazing how Rosie injects humour into How to be Deaf, given the hurt one can sense beneath her delivery and indomitable spirit. But as a former victim of violent spousal abuse, the true story she told in her book, Change your Name and Disappear, she has found her strength in struggle. Rosie Malezer is inspiring and motivating, and for those who currently live with a deaf person or are losing their own hearing through aging, How to Be Deaf is mandatory reading. It is rich in useful resources, ideas and links, and even includes signing for the alphabet. Thank you, Rosie, for writing this very useful and important book.