Jake Tracer
December 31, 2008 AT 05:00 AM EST

Hands of My Father

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Myron Uhlberg
publisher
Bantam
genre
Memoir, Nonfiction

We gave it a B+

Myron Uhlberg’s childhood memoir, Hands of My Father, features all the hallmarks of 1940s Brooklyn: Ebbets Field, Coney Island, the local candy store. It’s standard-issue nostalgia but for one crucial detail: Both of his parents are deaf. As such, the family never cared much for language’s subtleties, and cumbersome wordplay sounds through the book, as when a lifeguard’s whistle falls ”on what were literally deaf ears.” Yet whether translating spoken insults into signs for his dad or caring for his epileptic younger brother because his parents couldn’t hear the seizures from the next room, Uhlberg shows he grew up faster than most. In the retelling, as in his upbringing, actions speak louder than words. B+

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