Friday, October 17, 2014

My take on: Finding Zoe

Five days a week I wake up at 6:00 a.m. to the sound of Lady Gaga's "Just Dance" blaring from my iPhone. Most days when I hear that sound I say to myself, "Is it really time to get up?"

Why am I starting with this little anecdote? Because I think I take for granted that I can hear the sound of my alarm. I don't think I'm alone in that feeling. What if one day I couldn't hear at all? I'm not sure I would know how to deal with that. Would I still be the same person? That's just one of the many questions I was asking myself after reading Finding Zoe: A Deaf Woman's Story of Identity, Love, and Adoption by Brandi Rarus

Spinal meningitis took away Brandi's hearing at the age of 6. Already verbal prior to losing her hearing, Brandi easily fit into the societal mainstream. But was that the best place for her? It wasn't until college that she fully embraced being deaf and deaf culture. Learning to let go of the hearing world and learning to embrace the deaf world took years. Think about it? No matter your age, how many of you could let go of who you once were? It's more than a lifestyle change. In some cases you have to let go of people you were once close to. Embracing deaf culture opened up a world of possibilities for Brandi, including being Miss Deaf America and meeting the love of her life. She went on to marry Tim Rarus and gave birth to three sons. But there was something missing for Brandi.

What was missing? A little girl. She always wanted a daughter. Adopting a deaf child seemed to be the best way to fulfill that desire. At first her husband did not want a fourth child, but after writing him a heartfelt letter Brandi got Tim to reconsider. Call it fate or call it divine intervention, soon after Tim's change of heart the Rarus family learned of an infant who needed a home. I guess it had to happen that way. Reading the book, it's clear Zoe was meant to be part of this family.

I definitely felt like I was in Brandi's head the entire time. Although, I did feel that some sections of the book were a bit rushed. Some passages felt like play-by-play, rather than a narrative of someone's life story. The first half of the book is everything that lead up to the Rarus' decision to adopt a child. The second half is devoted to the adoption process, and the multiple homes that Zoe was in before being adopted by Brandi and Tim. As a whole, I was captivated by Brandi's story, I just wished some parts were fleshed out a bit more. I don't always advocate this, but I wish this book was about 100 pages longer. Deaf or hearing, there are parts of this book that everyone can relate, especially the power of love and family.

Rating: Give it a try

Note: I received a copy from the publisher (BenBella Books) as part of a blog tour with Pump up Your Book.

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