El Deafo

by Cece Bell
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars

Finally, it was my turn! I inhaled this one on my lunch break, and was only slightly sorry (there are a couple of gross scenes). A patron recommended this to me, and it reminded me a lot of Raina Telgemeier’s autobiographical graphic novel Smile – it is awkward and cringe-inducing and utterly sweet and funny in turns. I will admit I sometimes had trouble keeping her friends straight and wasn’t really sure when to get attached to a character (would they be friends again?), but it came together. It turns out to be another tale of learning one’s place in the world, and growing up. I also really appreciated the frankness and kid-friendliness of the afterword. Having a friend who reads lips and now has cochlear implants, I thought it was really great to read about what it’s like to have people just shouting at you all the time, or assuming they knew how to talk to you without asking. I was rooting for Cece the whole time and was annoyed when she, as a kid, didn’t know how to talk to her friends or the other kids at school calmly and helpfully, but that’s normal. It’s so hard to learn that lesson, even if you aren’t differently-abled – most adults I know still have a hard time with it!

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