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✬ [PDF] ✓ Mean Little Deaf Queer: A Memoir By Terry Galloway ✹ –

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 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. In , 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 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 about growing up with the crumbling of your hearing, about the issues of being outside of both the hearing AND the deaf world I guess I wanted 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. 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. 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, butthe writing just didn t grab me not a bad book, not a great book. 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 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. 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 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. 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 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 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, 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 dangerous i hope TG doesn t read this, because my analysis is far fetched and projective and unwarranted over, 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. 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.