Thursday, December 24, 2015

First Book Review! - El Deafo by Cece Bell

     I recently read El Deafo, by Cece Bell, in just under an hour.  While I knew I should have been studying for my math midterm the next day, the book was so good I couldn't put it down.  I had been wanting to read this book for weeks ever since I have learned of it. 
     El Deafo is a graphic novel about a girl who wears hearing aids and goes to a mainstream school.  It is based on the author's own life, and parts of the book resonate with my own life.  I highly recommend reading this book.  It is a light read, very enjoyable, and especially suited for someone looking for a fun study break or a bedtime read.
     Here is another review from the New York Times, written by author Katherine Bouton - El Deafo in New York Times.  Check out the author's other children's books and a writer's blog - Cece Bell's Page.
     Inspired by this book, I decided to try my own hand at drawing some scenes from my childhood.  There was one particular quote from the book that struck close to my heart - the "bubble of isolation."  This was a phrase that I have often used, even before I read this book, to describe how I felt, and still feel, about my hearing loss and my interactions with hearing peers.
     Here are three illustrations (no where near as good as Bell's illustrations in El Deafo) that show my "bubble of isolation."
  • My Bubble of Isolation  This is my bubble, which not only protects, but also isolates me from children's paradise.  Being inside the bubble is not too bad.  Much like in the book, I can't always understand what everyone is saying 100%.   Everyone is so full of life and yap-yap-yapping away, but inside the bubble it is so quiet, that it almost seems like everything is dead, like the lawn in my bubble.
  • Broken Bubble  There are two possibilities of what happens when I "burst my bubble."  Sometimes this happens when someone speaks to me; I might become really frightened and scared of miscommunication with fellow human beings.  Other times I choose to venture out and try to engage in communication with my peers.

  • When I Go Out  This demonstrates efforts I take to leave my bubble.  It is similar to deep sea diving or conducting long extra-vehicular activity (EVA) in space.  EVAs can be very dangerous, but the reason why astronauts take risks in their protective gear is that they have an entire world, nay, universe to explore.  This is the same attitude I have when I take my bubble for a spin; the hearing universe can be scary and frightening to someone who can't hear, but it is a cornucopia of endless wonders that I want to explore! 

     When I was drawing these pictures, a hearing colleague walked by and noticed them.  He pointed to the bubble and said, "Oh, I feel you there.  I have that same problem too!"  This bubble of isolation is not unique to deaf children, but to nearly everyone.  Everyone might have his or her own bubble of isolation, although it may come in different forms; the concept is the same.  But always, beyond that bubble is a universe of endless wonder.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Chloe, this is a great article. I read El Deafo too and love, love, love the book. There are several things that resonate with me as well. I liked your cool drawings.
    Ellie G. Lee

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