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Paperback Mean Little Deaf Queer: A Memoir Book

ISBN: 0807073318

ISBN13: 9780807073315

Mean Little Deaf Queer: A Memoir

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

In 1959, the year Terry Galloway turned nine, the voices of everyone she loved began to disappear. No one yet knew that an experimental antibiotic given to her mother had wreaked havoc on her fetal nervous system, eventually causing her to go deaf. As a self-proclaimed "child freak," she acted out her fury with her boxy hearing aids and Coke-bottle glasses by faking her own drowning at a camp for crippled children. Ever since that first real-life...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Dramatically Moving

Galloway, Terry. "Mean Little Deaf Queer", Beacon Press, 2009. Dramatically Moving Amos Lassen "Mean Little Deaf Boy" is Terry Galloway's gripping memoir of what it was like to grow up with two challenges--being gay in a red state and being deaf. Many of us would have given up early but Galloway moves gracefully through life and tackles the lows and relishes the highs. She was an outsider and this gave her strength. She has suffered and she has triumphed and as she tells us about her separateness, we grow to love her. She is both resilient and caustic; she is sweet and she is depraved. Galloway was born on Halloween but at that time no one had any idea that her mother had been given an antibiotic that would cause serious problems for her child. Galloway became deaf and as her body changed, she developed a sense of humor that would be her salvation. She fought a lot, had breakdowns and her life was one of silence. The book is powerful and it is very sensitive. It is beautifully written and is witty and intelligent. Galloway's writing is pure and is a kind of performance. She does not let herself slip into sentimentality but maintains an even keel. She is deaf but she is not disabled. She has horror stories and she has stories of triumph. The book is a family history, a coming-of-age story and a coming-to-terms story that is an absolutely wonderful read.


Captivating. Funny with a capital F. A spellbinding account of childhood, hearing and deafness, family and love, queerness and meanness. You will laugh, say "ouuuu", you might click your tongue, shake your head, widen your eyeballs, and might wish you had half the chutzpah as Terry. By the end you know her, love her and wish you could carry at least half the pain for her. I will always keep a lookout for a companion epilogue by Trudy/Gail and Tenley. Girlie, you are the bomb!

I love this book.

I've known Terry for a long time and consider her a close friend. So, when I began to read this book, I was sure to like it. However, I had no idea it would affect me the way that it has. I laughed out loud at her depictions, characterizations, and descriptions of her acquaintances, friends, lovers, colleagues, family..... The book invited me right in, took ahold, and completely entertained and made me think for a couple of days. This is a book about all our lives, insecurities, triumphs, failures, questions, and wonderings. This is a life-affirming, shattering, tour de force of a memoir. I recommend it to anyone who likes to read and has any interest in our shared humanity.

Powerful, funny memoir takes a unique personal story and makes it universal

Mean Little deaf Queer is remarkable -- this memoir transmutes Terry Galloway's unique, quirky, anguished, sometimes goofy but nevertheless powerful individual narrative into a larger exploration of the way we tell stories to ourselves and to others in order to construct our places in the world. Terry as a child experienced moments when she was transported out of her body -- later, she engaged in an elaborate exploration of how to transport herself back into her body, to live in the world as the person she was. At the same time, in theater, she was transported again by the powers of drama and comedy. (There is a passage about performance of Shakespeare in a barn in Texas that magnificently captures such a moment.) The reader will be transported as well. A word about the prose: Many people who are familiar with Galloway's work in theater, even work that she herself has authored or co-authored, think of her primarily as a performer. Here you get to experience her as a pure writer, finding another channel through which to link her life and wisdom to ours. Her writing is itself a performance -- a high-wire act in which the challenge is not to fall into self-absorbed sentiment on the one side or the glib, easy laugh on the other. Galloway meets that challenge and exceeds it in a way that, again and again, will take your breath away. Her writing is lyrical, precise, and relentlessly expressive. I've known Terry for about 30 years, so this isn't an objective review. But it is a fair one, because I wouldn't praise a book -- even a friend's book -- unless I thought it deserved praise. Mean Little deaf Queer deserves very high praise indeed.

Moving, real, funny - wonderful

I loved this book, because it made me laugh and made me cry. It caught me in the throat more than once, as it fully and articulately revealed the challenges of disability and of becoming oneself. Galloway writes with such wit and intelligence and honesty. The prose carries you along and then surprises again and again. It is wonderful. Galloway says stories were the currency of her family. The richness of her own storytelling is evidence that she has indeed prospered from that legacy. Although many chapters stand out in my mind, the final one has lodged itself inside my heart.
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