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In 1959, the year Terry Galloway turned nine, the voices of everyone she loved began to disappear. No one yet knew that an experimental antibiotic given to her mother had wreaked havoc on her fetal nervous system, eventually causing her to go deaf. As a self-proclaimed "child freak," she acted out her fury with her boxy hearing aids and Coke-bottle glasses by faking her ow In 1959, the year Terry Galloway turned nine, the voices of everyone she loved began to disappear. No one yet knew that an experimental antibiotic given to her mother had wreaked havoc on her fetal nervous system, eventually causing her to go deaf. As a self-proclaimed "child freak," she acted out her fury with her boxy hearing aids and Coke-bottle glasses by faking her own drowning at a camp for crippled children. Ever since that first real-life performance, Galloway has used theater, whether onstage or off, to defy and transcend her reality. With disarming candor, she writes about her mental breakdowns, her queer identity, and living in a silent, quirky world populated by unforgettable characters. What could have been a bitter litany of complaint is instead an unexpectedly hilarious and affecting take on life. From the Trade Paperback edition.


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In 1959, the year Terry Galloway turned nine, the voices of everyone she loved began to disappear. No one yet knew that an experimental antibiotic given to her mother had wreaked havoc on her fetal nervous system, eventually causing her to go deaf. As a self-proclaimed "child freak," she acted out her fury with her boxy hearing aids and Coke-bottle glasses by faking her ow In 1959, the year Terry Galloway turned nine, the voices of everyone she loved began to disappear. No one yet knew that an experimental antibiotic given to her mother had wreaked havoc on her fetal nervous system, eventually causing her to go deaf. As a self-proclaimed "child freak," she acted out her fury with her boxy hearing aids and Coke-bottle glasses by faking her own drowning at a camp for crippled children. Ever since that first real-life performance, Galloway has used theater, whether onstage or off, to defy and transcend her reality. With disarming candor, she writes about her mental breakdowns, her queer identity, and living in a silent, quirky world populated by unforgettable characters. What could have been a bitter litany of complaint is instead an unexpectedly hilarious and affecting take on life. From the Trade Paperback edition.

30 review for Mean Little Deaf Queer: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Terry Galloway

    I can't help it. Despite its many flaws I really love my own book. So does my Mother. I can't help it. Despite its many flaws I really love my own book. So does my Mother.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    This memoir by Terry Galloway is brutally honest, an account of her life and struggles with deafness. Her mother was injected with an experimental drug when she was pregnant. This caused problems in Galloway’s childhood and at the age of nine she began to lose her hearing and see visions: “Until they turned menacing, I kept my visions strictly to myself. I took to thinking of them as fragile wonders… If I didn’t keep them private, shield them from idle prying, ridicule or disbelief, they’d wither This memoir by Terry Galloway is brutally honest, an account of her life and struggles with deafness. Her mother was injected with an experimental drug when she was pregnant. This caused problems in Galloway’s childhood and at the age of nine she began to lose her hearing and see visions: “Until they turned menacing, I kept my visions strictly to myself. I took to thinking of them as fragile wonders… If I didn’t keep them private, shield them from idle prying, ridicule or disbelief, they’d wither into dust, the same way my own secret heart would wither if I ever admitted aloud the longing for other little girls that was growing there.” She records the way other people changed towards her, trials and tribulations at school and having to go to summer camp with those described as “special”. Her struggles with sexuality are equally hilarious and heartrending. One of Galloway’s passions is theatre and her theatrical adventures are worth reading. She has been a theatre artist and an advocate of disability rights. Galloway charts the history of the way she experienced discrimination for her disability and her sexuality. Galloway admits at various times having desires for both men and women and switches between masculine and feminine gender identifications. Galloway is very frank and not afraid to outline her own mistakes and deficiencies. There is humour as well as controversy. She also talks about her sexual escapades: "One side effect of my deafness is that I'm always presuming a physical intimacy, usually where there is none. … I can't tell you the number of ill-conceived affairs I've had as an adult that started with me putting my hand on someone's collarbone ( which conducts sound like a hollow reed ) and fastening my gaze on their lips as if it were all I could do not to bite. It was an inadvertent pickup technique I ought to have found (but didn't) shameful and misleading." Galloway does ramble off the point sometimes, but this is well worth reading and she is thought provoking.

  3. 5 out of 5

    jo

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. there are a handful things that stand out for me in this memoir-in-stories. a few are on the surface, one is below. the on the surface things are terry galloway's crazy smarts, crazy wit, and plain old craziness. she is fearless, original, creative, irreverent, and entirely fabulous. interestingly, this story looks as if it was written by a 30 year old at most, even though i'd have to put TG in her mid-fifties (i'm just as good at counting as she is so i may be off, but i don't think by much). i there are a handful things that stand out for me in this memoir-in-stories. a few are on the surface, one is below. the on the surface things are terry galloway's crazy smarts, crazy wit, and plain old craziness. she is fearless, original, creative, irreverent, and entirely fabulous. interestingly, this story looks as if it was written by a 30 year old at most, even though i'd have to put TG in her mid-fifties (i'm just as good at counting as she is so i may be off, but i don't think by much). it is really interesting to me how young she sounds. there are no discussions of aging and no signs of aging in her writing. now, this may sound relatively unimportant, but i don't think it is. i think it's very important. i think it may connect to the point i'm about to make, about the stuff that lies below the surface. the thing below the surface is a current of pain that resonated in me so deeply, all the shenanigans and the hilariousness could barely conceal it. i found myself cringing and hurting even as i was laughing and cheering, and, often, not quite knowing where all the hurt was coming from. this breezy, life-affirming, strong, and witty memoir was a slow and painful read for me. there is a chapter in the last third of the book called "Scare." when terry and her sisters were little, they used to play a game with their mom and dad called scare. they'd hide somewhere in the house and their parents would have to find them. the game grew to be very serious. the kids put all they had in hiding well and staying still for as long as it took. their father, who was a real-life spy (they lived in berlin for some time), was equally good at toying with them. terry describes the game as incredible fun but she also tells us that once a little playmate who was over and got roped into playing peed herself in her little hiding place. me, i would have been nothing short of terrified. the story of this game is near the beginning of the book. the chapter called "Scare," which is closer to the end, is about a psychotic break terry had when she was in her thirties (or thereabouts). she became intensely paranoid and, overcome by dread, got herself into a psych hospital, where she stayed for a month. the doctor recommended that she stay away from scary stories. so while the depiction of terry's childhood and her family is overtly warm and normal, her narrative makes a direct connection about a cherished childhood family game and a psychotic break that happened later in life. when, around the age of nine, she started going deaf, terry also began dissociating in a very pronounced way. she would leave her body and see herself from the sky, where she was floating. the self she left down to earth, though, carried on with whatever she was doing, so that no one noticed anything. terry didn't disclose this, or her deafness, to her parents until things got too much to bear, at which point the doctors discovered that not only was she deaf, she was also extremely myopic. so terry went from being a very free, if sensorily deprived, tomboy to being a girl weighed down by thick girl-shaped glasses and a bulky hearing aid (the kicking in of adolescence didn’t help). TG does not gloss over the disappointment, frustration, inconvenience, and sadness of these radical changes, but she leaves out the terror. terror, however, suffuses this book from page one, and it's more than the terror of deafness. i can't tell you what this terror is about because TG doesn't give us enough to go on, but i'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that it might have something to do with being a kid who was both disabled and queer. also, it may be related to childhood games that very much reproduced unstable and scary real-life circumstances: the cold war, nuclear annihilation, and dad crossing the line of safety on a daily basis. later, in passing, TG tells us that she tried to kill herself some eleven times. the statement is immediately followed by a crack, but it's there, and you hear it. mean little deaf queer terry describes enough rejection, impossible longing, unsafe and promiscuous sex, poverty, and isolation to make suicidality entirely comprehensible. that she covers it all with a veneer of humor shouldn’t, i think, fool the reader for a second. in the last, more open chapters, terry talks about a continuing sense of dread and fear of the great emptiness that is her life. she has a long-time lover by now, and her lover soothes her and comforts her. at the same time, she tells us that, in spite of her obvious gifts for writing and performing, she is still unable to earn a solid living. in the "now" of the narration she is not making a penny. apart from the very last chapter, which is about cochlear implants and terry's unabashed longing for sounds (TG is definitely not a poster child for Deaf culture), there is not much in this book about what it means to be disabled or queer. the focus seems to be elsewhere, except you can't quite tell where. the attention is constantly deflected. as someone who also uses humor to steer attention away from herself, i think i know what TG is doing. the pain of terry's ab-normality, both sexual and sensorial, is searing, and the dread palpable. i read this because i wanted to assign it in a course on disability, but i don't think it would work. i think you need to be older than twenty to get the sense of lifelong deflation that undergirds all this dread and pain. which brings me back to the youthful narrative voice. some of us, those of us who have been visited by early trauma, have a funny relationship with time. in spite of the fact that it passes, time also stands still. instead of accumulating horizontally, so to speak, it accumulates vertically. instead of being a line that lies flat as a road, it's a building that grows and grows and doesn't move except to become heavier and denser and more dangerous. i hope TG doesn't read this, because my analysis is far-fetched and projective and unwarranted. moreover, as i said, she put a lot of effort into deflecting attention, and it is simply unfair of me to claim i can peel off the layers of protection she laid down so carefully. still, once you send a book into the world it becomes the readers' property, so this is what this book is for me, however you meant it, terry galloway.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This was an interesting read for me, partly because I have a very limited understanding of the experiences of little-d deaf individuals— especially as they differ from those who identify as big-D Deaf. Having spent years in college learning the basics of American Sign Language and immersing myself in the Deaf community (as any good student of language does), I fell in love with Deaf culture. Those who were born deaf and whose sole language has been ASL, along with children (hearing or deaf) born This was an interesting read for me, partly because I have a very limited understanding of the experiences of little-d deaf individuals— especially as they differ from those who identify as big-D Deaf. Having spent years in college learning the basics of American Sign Language and immersing myself in the Deaf community (as any good student of language does), I fell in love with Deaf culture. Those who were born deaf and whose sole language has been ASL, along with children (hearing or deaf) born and raised in a Deaf household, typically identify as big-D Deaf. From this perspective, being deaf is not a disability, but a culture; a way of life. Members of the Deaf community have their own language, their own social norms, their own heritage and traditions. The deafness that I’ve come to know is very different than what Galloway describes in Mean Little Deaf Queer. Having lost her hearing later in life, Galloway spent decades longing for the sound she once knew. She never learned American Sign Language and uses speech and lip-reading to communicate. Having had no connection to the Deaf community or culture, Galloway describes herself as little-d deaf and has spent many years coming to terms with what she views as a devastating disability. On top of her hearing loss, she also identifies as queer which served to compound her childhood and early-adulthood struggle with self-discovery and self-worth. Overall, I enjoyed this book. Although I think I’ll always appreciate and espouse the “non-disability” perspective of the big-D Deaf culture (I’m a strengths-based person and I find Deaf culture to be incredibly inspiring and intriguing), Galloway’s memoir gave me new insights into the very different, and often tumultuous, experience of little-d deaf individuals and their struggle to find a reality in which they feel truly at home. It takes a lot of courage to be honest and vulnerable, and Galloway has done just that to the benefit of anyone who reads her story.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Eris

    I'll be honest, I didn't finish this one. I read to the halfway point and gave up. The author has all the ingredients for a fascinating memoir, but something in the presentation was offputting - I can't put my finger on it. I wanted to know more about growing up with the crumbling of your hearing, more about the issues of being outside of both the hearing AND the deaf world - I guess I wanted more of the emotion of being her and less of the mechanics. The facts have some interest, but most of th I'll be honest, I didn't finish this one. I read to the halfway point and gave up. The author has all the ingredients for a fascinating memoir, but something in the presentation was offputting - I can't put my finger on it. I wanted to know more about growing up with the crumbling of your hearing, more about the issues of being outside of both the hearing AND the deaf world - I guess I wanted more of the emotion of being her and less of the mechanics. The facts have some interest, but most of them are so remote from my experience that there is no way I can sympathize - but I wanted to.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Young

    Probably the most phenomenally engaging memoir I've yet read. Probably the most phenomenally engaging memoir I've yet read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Unlike most tradition memoirs I've read, MLDQ avoids strict narrative in favor of a series of performances pieces (not unusual given Galloway's skills), each detailing specific events while carrying the theme of self discovery. Galloway's life-long struggle with deafness, sexuality preference, a morbid curiosity of the morbid and ongoing battles with paranoia and bulimia forces the reader to examine their own feelings and beliefs about each of these. Galloway strikes an even balance detailing he Unlike most tradition memoirs I've read, MLDQ avoids strict narrative in favor of a series of performances pieces (not unusual given Galloway's skills), each detailing specific events while carrying the theme of self discovery. Galloway's life-long struggle with deafness, sexuality preference, a morbid curiosity of the morbid and ongoing battles with paranoia and bulimia forces the reader to examine their own feelings and beliefs about each of these. Galloway strikes an even balance detailing her inner turmoils, even though the format of the book lends itself to a few redundancies. I experienced a full range of emotions reading this book, something any good book should do. Most of the book avoids beating the reader over the head with the difficulties of disabilities to which I give large kudos. Towards the books conclusion I wanted some sense of positive motion forward and while that does happen in final pages I was hoping for a greater presence of hope in the face of adversity. It's there, but the reader has to be patient to see it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dru

    Before I opened this book, I was intrigued by the title, 'Mean Little deaf Queer'. While I didn't know what to expect, I hoped that it would be as fascinating as the title promised it to be. Instead I felt as if I drudged through the pages. It was as if the author attempted to shock me at every turn, to the point where I actually wondered if she was overdoing it. She professed a love for theatre, and immediately a thought popped up in my head- 'A drama queen who needs the curtain drawn halfway t Before I opened this book, I was intrigued by the title, 'Mean Little deaf Queer'. While I didn't know what to expect, I hoped that it would be as fascinating as the title promised it to be. Instead I felt as if I drudged through the pages. It was as if the author attempted to shock me at every turn, to the point where I actually wondered if she was overdoing it. She professed a love for theatre, and immediately a thought popped up in my head- 'A drama queen who needs the curtain drawn halfway through her monologue'. While I don't want to seem bitter or quick to dismiss, I am biased as a deaf person. She did place an emphasis on the different generations, especially when it comes to technology. Regardless I don't plan on recommending this book to anybody. I wish I wanted to, but I just don't.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alyse

    I liked it. The author's voice was interesting and unique, but I found the plot/the theme hard to follow at times. Still interesting. I liked it. The author's voice was interesting and unique, but I found the plot/the theme hard to follow at times. Still interesting.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Woodard

    Recommended to me by a HS student - what a story, what a life, would recommend as well. Hidden treasure not widely advertised.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ciara

    i don't know what to say about this book. i saw it on the new shelf at the library & was intrigued, but passed it over the first time. i went back to the library again a few days later & picked it up. & then i let it sit on my shelf for a couple of weeks before i finally read it. it is described as a memoir of a woman growing up queer in texas in the 60s, who slowly loses her hearing throughout childhood due to neurological damage caused by a drug her mother was given during her pregnancy, in we i don't know what to say about this book. i saw it on the new shelf at the library & was intrigued, but passed it over the first time. i went back to the library again a few days later & picked it up. & then i let it sit on my shelf for a couple of weeks before i finally read it. it is described as a memoir of a woman growing up queer in texas in the 60s, who slowly loses her hearing throughout childhood due to neurological damage caused by a drug her mother was given during her pregnancy, in west germany (where galloway's family lived while her father was employed as a spy in east germany). she writes about growing up during the cold war, childhood out of body experiences, the alienation she felt while she was losing her hearing & not understanding what was happening, grappling with being queer, wanting to work in theatre & being shunted out because of her disabilities. i guess i felt anxious about reading another bummer memoir from someone who has had a rough life. at a certain point, i start to feel emotionally tapped out, you know? but i finally picked it up & it was a really quick read & not as much of a bummer as i'd expected. the book is described by some reviewers as funny. some people have compared it to writers like david sedaris. i'm not really sure what those people were smoking. i guess there were parts that were somewhat amusing, & there were parts that were obviously supposed to be funny, but i wasn't really bowled over. i think it was the writing. something about it just didn't grab me. it's a memoir in that kind of old-school style, where it feels like this is the one memoir galloway is going to write--she's not necessarily going to try to spin an entire authorial career out of writing about her own life. & so she has to cover a lot of ground in only about 200 pages. so the book never really gets that deep, & she seems to spend a lot of time on certain small incidents, obviously trying to present them as a larger allegory for something (like the hide & seek game she & her sisters used to play with her father, & its connection to growing up during the cold war), &...it fell a little flat. it was a perfectly fine book, with insight to share about growing up queer forty years ago in a small town, struggling with disability in an age before technological advancements made life considerably easier for people, etc, but...the writing just didn't grab me. not a bad book, not a great book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Celia

    Oof. This one was a tough read for me. I found the narration to be difficult to enjoy until about halfway through the book, when I started getting more accustomed to the tone of writing.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ivan

    Over the past decade I’ve read numerous memoirs by writers from the LGBT community, most notably by Dan Savage, Alison Bechdel and Augusten Burroughs. Obviously, some are more successful then others communicating their life’s trials and tribulations. Terry Galloway’s Mean Little Deaf Queer is successful for a myriad of reasons, the most pronounced being her ferocious wit and an ability to write well, as well as engagingly. As a founder (and most visible cast member) of Mickee Faust Club, a local Over the past decade I’ve read numerous memoirs by writers from the LGBT community, most notably by Dan Savage, Alison Bechdel and Augusten Burroughs. Obviously, some are more successful then others communicating their life’s trials and tribulations. Terry Galloway’s Mean Little Deaf Queer is successful for a myriad of reasons, the most pronounced being her ferocious wit and an ability to write well, as well as engagingly. As a founder (and most visible cast member) of Mickee Faust Club, a local theatrical troupe, she has become a bona fide Tallahassee celebrity [a claim she humbly denies:]. Galloway is, for all intents and purposes, deaf. This has left her handicapped, but my no means disabled. Yes, she tells some horror stories. However, it is her triumphs over her adversities that resound throughout this inspiring volume. She is, as we all are, a truly unique individual. Her stories of gradually losing her hearing at age 9, coming to terms with her burgeoning sexuality, dealing with bigotry and humiliations both oblivious and intentional are told in language which allows her readers to recognize, appreciate and empathize; some may even see their complicity in society’s crime of marginalizing minorities. The chapters in this book which affected me most profoundly were those dealing with her family. There is a scene of her mother singing while ironing her husband’s clothes, a private moment of reverie and connubial affirmation the author captures with exquisite sensitivity. Her father’s deathbed scene, the miracle of the ponds, and outpouring of love by his wife and daughters had me reading through tears. There are many stories depicted in these pages; some hard to take, others dark and humorous. The lady tells a story of being locked up in a NYC mental ward that is wickedly funny; an inspired scene of comic hijinks and merriment worthy of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, complete with an evil (Ronald Reagan loving) head nurse. With Mean Little deaf Queer Galloway proves adept at releasing her life’s stories with clarity and humor; she is a literary Whirling Dervish, spinning her yarns without distraction, leaving her readers conquered but not at all dizzy.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Balkirat

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. In 2009 the Memoir, Mean Little Deaf Queer was by Terry Galloway and published by Beacon Press. In this book Terry makes a lot of connections with her childhood and her adult life. In one of the scenes she tells us about one of her games called “Scare” she used to play as a kid. Terry and her sister would go and hide and her father would try to find them. It became a little serious the more they played this game. Terry’s father was a spy when they lived in Berlin. Her father was able to find the In 2009 the Memoir, Mean Little Deaf Queer was by Terry Galloway and published by Beacon Press. In this book Terry makes a lot of connections with her childhood and her adult life. In one of the scenes she tells us about one of her games called “Scare” she used to play as a kid. Terry and her sister would go and hide and her father would try to find them. It became a little serious the more they played this game. Terry’s father was a spy when they lived in Berlin. Her father was able to find them by using his spy training. The narrator shows many of uncomfortable themes throughout this book growing up, and not craving to be “normal” and bringing awareness of sexuality. This book shows the deep changes in her life that she went through and shows it in a humors way. Terry Galloway wrote this book in a different perspective and made it very interesting to read. With the different dramatic events that happened in just her life made me wonder and compare it to mine. Around the age of nine, she started going deaf, Terry also began respond to these changes in a very dramatic way. She didn’t tell anyone she was becoming deaf until she wasn’t able to handle it. Her parents didn’t know until her doctor found out that she was deaf and was unwilling to move forward with her life. She then changes her style and from being a tomboy into a girl with a big cholera. It also didn’t help becoming a teenager at that time either. I have not gone through so much change in my entire life as she has as a child. Terry Galloway life was not as connected with her deafness and her being different. Being born deaf and becoming deaf are very different. Becoming deaf has a dramatic change with people’s life and it changed not only her life but her parents as well. She was able to write this Memoir deeply invested in her emotions and in a humorous way. That’s way I love this book. It is so complex in a different way. Terry did a very good job because I am very picky when it comes to reading a book. Terry was able to grab my attention in the first page talking about her mother. I wouldn’t change anything in this book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Elevate Difference

    If I had to choose only one genre of book to read for the rest of my life, I would choose memoirs. When I think of the books that have most changed my outlook on life and expanded my understandings of the world, I would think of classic and contemporary works like Black Boy by Richard Wright, Living My Life by Emma Goldman, and Naked by David Sedaris. Terry Galloway’s Mean Little Deaf Queer was such an enjoyable and enlightening read I found difficult to put down. Galloway reflects on her life an If I had to choose only one genre of book to read for the rest of my life, I would choose memoirs. When I think of the books that have most changed my outlook on life and expanded my understandings of the world, I would think of classic and contemporary works like Black Boy by Richard Wright, Living My Life by Emma Goldman, and Naked by David Sedaris. Terry Galloway’s Mean Little Deaf Queer was such an enjoyable and enlightening read I found difficult to put down. Galloway reflects on her life and the two of the defining characteristics of her identity that she has struggled with: growing up queer and losing most of her hearing at the age of twelve. Her mother was given a drug during pregnancy that was later revealed to cause neurological damage in fetuses, including loss of hearing. Describing her childhood, which begins in Western Germany where her family lived while her father worked as a spy for the CIA, Galloway remembers when she was “normal,” like everybody else. But she slowly slipped into a different reality without her family even realizing it. Galloway goes to great lengths to hide her hearing loss from everyone around her, until it is discovered by a teacher at school one day. She describes her feelings of frustration and anger, and how she managed to become an accomplished figure in the world of theater acting, in spite of the many people who tried to stand in her way (including a high school advisor who told her factory work is a good choice for the deaf). At times hilarious and others heartbreaking, Mean Little Deaf Queer manages to educate the reader about what it feels like to grow up always feeling like an outsider. In the tradition of writers like Sedaris, Galloway manages to find humor and absurdity in even the saddest moments. Whether faking her own drowning at a summer camp for disabled children,or taking an acting job in the role of an “alternative Santa Claus” at an “alternative mall,” Galloway’s stories are intriguing. If anything, I wish the book had been longer. Review by Liz Simmons

  16. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    I received this book as a goodreads first read. I am no expert on memoirs, deafness, or the gay/lesbian community, but this book was an extremely introspective look into one fascinating woman's life. Ms. Galloway has authored an intriguing recollection of her childhood through her adult years that frequently left me giggling to myself. Though, at certain times, she also made my heart break. Ms. Galloway's honest retelling of her life story paired with her talent for prose made this a truly enjoya I received this book as a goodreads first read. I am no expert on memoirs, deafness, or the gay/lesbian community, but this book was an extremely introspective look into one fascinating woman's life. Ms. Galloway has authored an intriguing recollection of her childhood through her adult years that frequently left me giggling to myself. Though, at certain times, she also made my heart break. Ms. Galloway's honest retelling of her life story paired with her talent for prose made this a truly enjoyable read. I was sincerely interested in Terri's life story and her thoughts. My favorite part of this book, though, is the way that Ms. Galloway incorporates her fascinating family history into her own life story. Many of the stories she retells of previous generations are every bit as interesting as those of Terri's own life. Every portion of this book was interesting and entertaining. I recommend this book for anyone who is interested in memoirs, overcoming adversity, or simply looking for a good, heartfelt story.

  17. 4 out of 5

    lauren

    she has an interesting story but i couldn't really get into the writing. i can't quite figure out why i didn't like it that much. i felt like with all of her challenges of growing up queer and deaf i would have liked her to get into things a little more. she covered the deaf part pretty well and I came out of the book having a better understanding of the many aspects of life for a deaf person that i'd never thought of before, and that many of the innovations that make it easier for deaf people t she has an interesting story but i couldn't really get into the writing. i can't quite figure out why i didn't like it that much. i felt like with all of her challenges of growing up queer and deaf i would have liked her to get into things a little more. she covered the deaf part pretty well and I came out of the book having a better understanding of the many aspects of life for a deaf person that i'd never thought of before, and that many of the innovations that make it easier for deaf people to function independently are fairly recent. as for the queer aspects of the book, i was left wanting to know more about life in rural texas for a young queer person, and how things changed with time and location. there was a lot of scratching the surface and not enough depth.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Terry Galloway is not one to shrink from her own personal shortcomings, physical or otherwise. She’s more likely to throw them right in your face until you squirm or laugh or cry. In this memoir she is unflinching in her account of growing up deaf and queer in a conservative and pre-ADA era. She felt betrayed by her body and outcast in a world that didn’t know quite what to do with her. So she raged and performed on-stage and found her way through creating art. This is an alternately inspiring, Terry Galloway is not one to shrink from her own personal shortcomings, physical or otherwise. She’s more likely to throw them right in your face until you squirm or laugh or cry. In this memoir she is unflinching in her account of growing up deaf and queer in a conservative and pre-ADA era. She felt betrayed by her body and outcast in a world that didn’t know quite what to do with her. So she raged and performed on-stage and found her way through creating art. This is an alternately inspiring, gritty and hilarious story that anyone can learn from.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    Well written memoir that sits on the edge of disability studies, gender studies, queer theory and psychology, sociology, anthropology... Terry's story is extremely interesting, and the way she tells it will draw you in. This is a quick must-read. Well written memoir that sits on the edge of disability studies, gender studies, queer theory and psychology, sociology, anthropology... Terry's story is extremely interesting, and the way she tells it will draw you in. This is a quick must-read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kerri

    I didn't love this one at first, and had a hard time getting into it, but have a true respect for the author for being able to write this, and for remembering the past with such detail. It was a well-written book by someone you do gain a respect for as the story progresses. I didn't love this one at first, and had a hard time getting into it, but have a true respect for the author for being able to write this, and for remembering the past with such detail. It was a well-written book by someone you do gain a respect for as the story progresses.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Julie Lankes

    If this book was not for my book club I would not have finished it. This is a book written by a complete Debbie-downer. And yes, she has had some unfortunate things happen in her life but she literally whizzes past anything good to elevate the bad. I struggled to finish it with no reward.

  22. 4 out of 5

    William Reichard

    This is a very well written memoir. Galloway uses a nice mix of gallows humor, straightforward analysis, and introspection in her quest to tell her story - the challenges of being born hearing but slowly going deaf, and the redemptive power of theater and art in her life.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    Terry Galloway is an amazing woman. Maybe not a good person all the time, or a brave person, or even a sane person, but her story is fascinating. Her story is funny and sad, but it's a happy story of a strong woman with a strong family, and a strong sense of who she is. Loved her story. Terry Galloway is an amazing woman. Maybe not a good person all the time, or a brave person, or even a sane person, but her story is fascinating. Her story is funny and sad, but it's a happy story of a strong woman with a strong family, and a strong sense of who she is. Loved her story.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rumi

    Even though it's a happy ending, I still almost weeped when this book was over. I thoroughly enjoyed Terry's storytelling style and felt privileged to learn so much about her upbringing. People like Terry inspire me to keep living, and I'll just leave it at that. Even though it's a happy ending, I still almost weeped when this book was over. I thoroughly enjoyed Terry's storytelling style and felt privileged to learn so much about her upbringing. People like Terry inspire me to keep living, and I'll just leave it at that.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Anna Schechter

    One of the best memoirs I've read. It delves into sexuality, gender, disability, family, theatre, and mental illness. It's beautiful and painful and real. A very important insight into life as a queer disabled person in the south. One of the best memoirs I've read. It delves into sexuality, gender, disability, family, theatre, and mental illness. It's beautiful and painful and real. A very important insight into life as a queer disabled person in the south.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Donovan Blount

    Deaf woman wrestles with her sexuality while living a life in the theater.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Thingdong

    Such a beautiful, weird interesting book! I loved the meandering way she told her story, and all the stories from other people that were part of it. She managed to portray a whole life in less than 150 pages, and she did it really brilliantly <3

  28. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    As more and more memoirs are published, it becomes harder to find a unique 'hook.' Terry Galloway is both deaf and a lesbian, so it was intriguing to pick up this memoir if just to find out how those two characteristics influenced her life. It seems that being deaf was the more salient point of the memoir and her queerness was more of a secondary tale, but that doesn't take away from the narrative at all. The book is very loosely chronological; in fact, most of the chapters are more like essays o As more and more memoirs are published, it becomes harder to find a unique 'hook.' Terry Galloway is both deaf and a lesbian, so it was intriguing to pick up this memoir if just to find out how those two characteristics influenced her life. It seems that being deaf was the more salient point of the memoir and her queerness was more of a secondary tale, but that doesn't take away from the narrative at all. The book is very loosely chronological; in fact, most of the chapters are more like essays on a theme, skipping forward and back to tell a whole story. I enjoyed reading about Galloway's experiences in the theater and with other people who are disabled the most. An intriguing second project for Galloway might be to collect and publish the stories she alludes to in her final chapter about her Actual Lives cohorts, a performance group for those with disabilities. I find her family and friends almost unbelievably liberal and accepting, more okay with her sexual identity than with her disability, and this strikes me as odd, but sort of refreshing; especially considering she spent almost all her life in the Conservative American South. However, I get the feeling that there was more discrimination she had to deal with than she relates; almost all the derogatory comments in the book are made about her deafness. One thing I was disappointed by was that most of the cover blurbs and other advertising about this book portray it as 'hilarious.' I found very little of it funny and only laughed out loud once. It was still a great book, but I expected something slightly different from reading the promotional material. That is more a failing of the publisher than the author, of course, and others with a different sense of humor might actually find it funnier than I did. Overall, I would recommend this to anyone who likes memoirs, especially people who, like me, are becoming increasingly bored with the genre.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Abigail

    I really enjoyed reading Terry Galloway's memoir about becoming deaf at a young age, being queer, and being/becoming a performer. Terry's thoughts and memories touch on identity, disability, privilege, and technology. She talks about the unique experience of becoming deaf while very young, and so being little-d deaf, but from early in life. She addresses disability privilege and divisions, her experiences passing as hearing and having to come out as deaf, and the influence that those things had I really enjoyed reading Terry Galloway's memoir about becoming deaf at a young age, being queer, and being/becoming a performer. Terry's thoughts and memories touch on identity, disability, privilege, and technology. She talks about the unique experience of becoming deaf while very young, and so being little-d deaf, but from early in life. She addresses disability privilege and divisions, her experiences passing as hearing and having to come out as deaf, and the influence that those things had on her identity. She talks about finding alternative groups that supported her in becoming a performer in ways that mainstream groups would not. She weaves a thread of understanding and developing her sexuality through the narrative, from sexual promiscuity as a child to exploring her queerness and experiencing loves. I enjoyed Terry's memoir. Although, at times it failed for me. I struggled with the ways in which Terry talks about and describes other people with disabilities. I struggled with her language in those descriptions given that the book was published in 2009. I struggled with the hierarchy of disability that she supports through her descriptions. While she does explore her relationship with disability and expresses that it has improved over time, I still found these sections to be less critical and aware than I would have liked. While I assume that Terry was not setting out to accomplish what someone like Eli Clare might be through their writing, I still have many underlines and notes, and will likely use this book as a departure point for thinking and academic work in the future.

  30. 5 out of 5

    cat

    While not an easy book to read, this is owed not to the writing (it was incredibly well-written and layered), but to the harsh and outsider treatment that Terry Galloway is chronicling from her life. Experiencing the recognition of both her growing deafness (from an experimental drug that her mother was given while prgenant) and her burgeoning queerness around the same time, her life changed dramatically around age 10. Her website says the rest better than I possibly could .. "But those unwelcom While not an easy book to read, this is owed not to the writing (it was incredibly well-written and layered), but to the harsh and outsider treatment that Terry Galloway is chronicling from her life. Experiencing the recognition of both her growing deafness (from an experimental drug that her mother was given while prgenant) and her burgeoning queerness around the same time, her life changed dramatically around age 10. Her website says the rest better than I possibly could .. "But those unwelcome changes awoke in this particular child a dark, defiant humor that fueled her lifelong obsessions with language, duplicity, and performance. As a ten-year-old self-proclaimed “child freak,” she acted out her fury at her boxy hearing aids and Coke-bottle glasses by faking her own drowning at a camp for crippled children. Ever since that first real-life performance, Galloway has used theater and performance, whether onstage or off, to defy and transcend her reality. With disarming candor, Terry writes about her mental breakdown, her queer identity, and living in a silent, quirky world populated by unforgettable characters. What could have been a bitter litany of complaint is instead an unexpectedly hilarious and affecting take on life."

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