But You Look So Normal: Lost and Found in a Hearing World

She Writes Pr. May 2024. 280p. ISBN 9781647426262. pap. $17.95. MEMOIR
The oldest child of parents who immigrated from Germany to escape from Nazis, Marseille was diagnosed with severe hearing loss at age four. She learned to read lips and adapted to bulky, erratic hearing aids that were less than helpful in group mainstream settings. The difficulty of communication with the hearing world sometimes made her feel misunderstood, isolated, invisible, and lonely, but she didn’t let it stop her from learning to play classical piano, living on a kibbutz in Israel, and attending college in Berkeley during the socially chaotic times of the late 1960s and early ’70s. After college, she pursued her artistic interests and eventually became a photographer and painter. Marseille’s descriptions of how she dealt with setbacks are insightful and revealing about life for people with largely invisible disabilities. One of the book’s biggest highlights is a lesson for all: how to open oneself up to find a joyful career and love.
VERDICT A fascinating, beautifully written memoir about a woman determined to carve out a fulfilling life for herself.
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