Hands of My Father: A Hearing Boy, His Deaf Parents, and the Language of Love by Myron Uhlberg [book review]
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Hands of My Father was an interesting memoir about Uhlberg’s youth. He was a boy growing up after the depression, during times of war, and most uniquely, was born to two deaf parents. This is his story about how he felt, what it was like, and the things he experienced growing up.
Uhlberg takes you from the time he was born to the time he was an adult. He explains what his role was in life to his parents, his resentment toward his brother, and everything else it was like growing up as a hearing child to two deaf parents. He doesn’t really go into much about the way that history around the time affected him or his family other than to say his father had a good job and didn’t have to go off to war because of his deafness.
One of my favourite parts of the book is where Uhlberg describes the interpersonal relationships between his parents and the rest of their families who can hear. It shows you that they don’t really hold back too much, and they do what they can to fit in, albeit it a bit awkwardly from time to time.
I particularly liked Uhlberg’s frank writing. He doesn’t sugar coat anything, and tells it like it is. It isn’t often I get a history perspective that is so… honest.
While this doesn’t give much perspective as to what the rest of the world was like during this time, it does give a lot of insight as to the culture and history of deaf people. This is something that not many people know about. Because of this, it is a unique and quite valuable book. This is a story that would be good to read for sociology, anthropology, or other culture class. It’s also a great educational tool to demonstrate diversity, adversity, and the strength of human character.