A Sign of Her Own: A Novel
Alexander Graham Bell is best known for the telephone. Perhaps less known, at least among the hearing community, is his interest in working with deaf people, and his particular interest in teaching them to speak as clearly as any hearing person could. From this history comes the story of Ellen Lark, a fictional woman inspired by real events and real people.
At first, Ellen’s story felt murky. It was difficult for me to find a sense of place or to determine whether I cared about the stakes of her conflict: whether to remain loyal to Bell or expose some secret of his which she knows. As I read further, however, I found my interest growing. The secret didn’t capture my interest much, but Ellen herself did. Her growth, the history surrounding her, and the way her voice emerged through the story all captivated me.
At times, A Sign of Her Own is difficult to figure out. The characters don’t always stand out, and Ellen sometimes fades to the background of her own story. At its best, though, it is a beautiful story inspired by the deaf community of late 19th century America, a community which is too often overlooked.
|Park Row Books
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