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My Sense of Silence


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A beautifully told and unique recollection of life as the child of immigrant Jews in the Bronx and as the child of deaf parents

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 - The Grain of SoundsChapter 2 - Language and the Word of My FatherChapter 3 - The Two MothersChapter 4 - Brother's KeeperChapter 5 - Honeymoon with MomChapter 6 - SchoolingChapter 7 - AdolescenceChapter 8 - College and Other AwakeningsEpilogue

About the Author

Lennard J. Davis is a professor of English, Disability and Human Development, and Medical Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has written several books and published essays in The Nation, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and other publications, and he has been a commentator on National Public Radio.


His identity as a child of deaf adults led Davis (English, SUNY at Binghamton) to edit and publish his parents' correspondence in Shall I Say a Kiss?: The Courtship Letters of a Deaf Couple, 1936-38 (Gallaudet Univ., 1999). Davis's new memoir focuses on how his parents' deafness affected him. He writes frankly about the difficulties he encountered, such as his inability to call his parents when he needed comfort during the night and his having to serve as their interpreter. He also discusses his embarrassment at his Jewish immigrant parents' poor working-class lifestyle during his childhood and adolescence in the Bronx. On the other hand, the author also infuses his writing with humor and the sense of the love and respect he developed for his parents and their accomplishments. In the epilog, he even implies that his upbringing contributed to many of his own successes. For instance, he mentions that his appreciation for language and strong communication skills are related to his early experience with sign language. Indeed, Davis's descriptions of the richness and complexity of sign language are the most fascinating portions of the book. Highly recommended for all public libraries.--Ximena Chrisagis, Wright State Univ Libs., Dayton, OH Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

"This is a man revealing himself, touched and startled by his act of exposure, discovering and offering the old truth: every life matters. Reminding us of this is what memoir does best... An engrossing contribution to the genre." The New York Times Book Review "Davis succeeds brilliantly... An outstanding personal and cultural study of deafness as well as a savvy and moving intellectual and political autobiography." The Bloomsbury Review "[Davis] infuses his writing with humor and the sense of love and respect he developed for his parents...Highly recommended." Library Journal

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