4 out of 4 stars
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Greta Palmer is deaf. While she has never let the label define her, she can’t help but feel isolated by certain people in her life. When she is asked to be a part of a documentary that showcases artists with disabilities, she is over the moon. Unfortunately, her mother and boyfriend, Olly, do not share in the sentiment. Her mother worries about how the show will portray Greta, and Olly believes she is setting herself up to be the laughing stock of the town.
Meanwhile, Greta is weighing the pros and cons of surgery to insert a cochlear implant. While the surgery is invasive and comes with risks, it could significantly improve her quality of life.
Finally, there is Connor. A handsome interpreter that has been assigned to work with Greta on the documentary. When her tumultuous relationship with Olly begins to unravel, her fondness for Connor grows.
Greta has important decisions to make. These decisions could change the course of her life forever. What will she choose?
Being Greta by Maxine Sinclair is a story about love, overcoming obstacles, and the stigma attached to living with a disability.
Olly and Greta’s relationship seemed like it was based on control rather than love. While reading the book, I could visualize the imbalance of power that existed in their union. Greta seemed to be the glue holding the relationship together, but it was Olly reaping the rewards. He was vehemently against learning to sign but wanted Greta to endure a painful operation. I felt as though Olly used Greta’s disability against her, which ultimately led to the depletion of her self-esteem.
Since the story is told in Greta’s perspective, I quickly became aware of the oppression one can feel when faced with a disability. While she did have some involvement in the deaf community, most of her family and friends were able to hear. Olly nor her family had learned to sign, so Greta relied on lip-reading. There were times that her mother would turn away while talking, and when Greta would ask her to repeat what was said, she would dismiss her, saying, “It’s not important.” This caused her to feel excluded from conversations, which led to feeling alienated because of her disability.
My favorite part of Being Greta was the unpredictable exchanges between Greta and Connor. At times they would be giggling and stealing glances of one another, and the next moment they would be yelling at one another. It was apparent that the attraction was mutual, but under the circumstances, they were forced to hold back feelings. I think this is what caused so much turbulence in their friendship. Throughout the whole book, I was crossing my fingers, hoping they would end up together.
I enjoyed all aspects of Being Greta and therefore give it a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. The book was professionally edited, and I found no errors. I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever felt isolated due to a mental or physical disability. So often we find ourselves imagining how perfect life would be if we could change that one thing about ourselves, but at the end of the day, it is that one thing that makes us unique.
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