Monday, May 11, 2015

El Deafo by Cece Bell

I feel super curious about graphic memoirs these days. When a friend told me her granddaughter loved El Deafo, I knew I wanted to read it. And I was not disappointed. I thought I would be able to whip through the book; boy was I wrong. In fact, I read the graphic memoir slower than if I had read another book. Very surprising. And totally engaging. Guess that is why she won a Newberry for this read.

El Deafo is the story of CeCe Bell's childhood. Ms. Bell contracts menningitis when she is 4 and ends up losing her hearing. The story takes  us from the moments of illness to figuring out how to communicate with friends and how to help them communicate with (and not be afraid of) her. CeCe takes us through what it is (was) like to go to school, to use a device called a Phonic Ear, and how she makes friends- the same way we all do: trial and error and talking a ton. The memoir offers us a lovely view into her thoughts as she negotiates many difficult and hysterical moments (not usually at the same time). What is particularly striking however is the added challenge that comes with deafness, for both the friend and the individual. Her creation of a superhero is remarkable, and it helps her reader really see how simply human (and direly superhuman) she is.

El Deafo: A sweet read. Any other great graphic memoirs you know about? I am game to explore....

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