I Can Hear You Whisper

 I Can Hear You Whisper: An Intimate Journey through the Science of Sound and Language - Lydia Denworth

Well - it's happened for the first time.  I found a book that isn't yet in the BookLikes database and I'm too tired and clueless about blogstuff to take the time to figure out how to add it.  So you will have to settle for a link to I Can Hear You Whisper: An Intimate Journey through the Science of Sound and Language by Lydia Denworth from my local independent bookseller.


In I Can Hear You Whisper, Lydia Denworth weaves the personal narrative of her son's Alex's deafness with research into the neurological basis of hearing and language acquisition, the history of cochlear implants, and a synopsis of Deaf history. As others have commented, this is the most even-handed discussion of the tension between Deaf culture and the technological advances that are changing the backdrop of their world that I have read. While her family's decisions put her son firmly in the cochlear implant using/oral language community, Mrs. Denworth is not dogmatic about this choice. Personally going so far as to start learning ASL and to introduce it to her son as a second language, her respect for the Deaf community is clear.

While Mrs. Denworth's background as a science journalist means that I Can Hear You Whisper is more professionally done than many narratives of disability, there is still a bit of a discrepancy between the informational chapters and the memoir chapters. Some of the informational chapters are so dense that I found myself skimming. I understand why this book was released when it was, but Alex is so young, that the story feels incomplete. I'd love to see an update in 10 or 15 years once he is a teen and can contribute part of the story himself.