DEAFENING…..by Frances Itani (2003)

Historical Fiction

WWI Fiction

This is a novel that sent me on an emotional roller coaster ride. It is primarily the story of a girl named Grania who becomes deaf, at age five, after suffering through scarlet fever. Her mother refuses to accept Grania’s deafness but her grandmother (Mamo) is relentless in teaching her to read and speak. The description of Mamo’s patience and commitment is truly memorable and Grania’s progress is inspiring.  She is nine years old when the family makes the difficult decision to send her to a special boarding school for the deaf.  She must leave her small-town Canadian home and live in another city without her family. Although she is heartbroken at first, she eventually excels in the deaf school. The first 1/3 of the book tells the story of Grania growing up, meeting a man named Jim Lloyd, and getting married.

Their marriage takes place in 1915 and soon  Jim is heading to Europe  to be a soldier in WWI.  The novel describes the horror of his existence as a stretcher-bearer on the front lines in France. Grania moves back with her family and lives through the difficult war years in her home -town, assisting the war movement and the family.  Both Jim and Grania witness tragedy and death in their respective locations. Despite the separation, there is a deep devotion between them.

I won’t describe the novel anymore except to say it is very moving.  My own grandfather, who died  when I was very young, was a stretcher -bearer in WWl and I did not know or understand that he lived through such horror. It impressed me, and it distressed me.

This is a very fine story about commitment and devotion.

HarperCollins Publishers (2003)

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under books, General fiction, historical fiction, Uncategorized, world war 1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s