Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Review: The Five Flavors of Dumb by Anthony John
Five Flavors of Dumb by Anthony John was the Schneider Family Teen Book Award winner of 2011. This award goes to a book which does a good job dealing with the topic of persons living with disabilities. In Five Flavors of Dumb the main character, Piper, is a high school senior who is also Deaf. She not only has to deal with normal teenage issues but she has to navigate through it all as a Deaf person in a hearing person's world.
The story opens with Piper standing in front of her school watching their local Rock band. As other students drift away Piper stands transfixed by what she just saw but couldn't hear. In the end she becomes the band's manager with one goal in mind---to get the band a paying gig. In the background of this story is what is going on for Piper at home. Her younger sister, Grace, who is also Deaf, just received a cochlear implant. Her parents paid for the implant with money set aside for Piper's college fund. Jealousy, frustration, and anger simmer under the radar as Piper tries to deal with all the changes in the family life. As she becomes more involved with managing the band, however, she finds that she has more leadership skills than she ever imagined and she also finds friends and love.
The book was a very satisfying read once I set my mind to actually read it. Initially I read around 60 pages and then set the book aside for some other project. Every time I would think about picking it back up I would opt for a different book instead and the Five Flavors languished on my bedside table for over five weeks. The ridiculous thing with putting it off was Five Flavors was the last book that I needed to read for my own challenge, Read the 2011 ALA Book Award Challenge. I am happy to report that I have completed that challenge now. I also want to encourage everyone to take a look at all the award winners, especially this one. I think it is important to read books which teach us something about the way that other people live so that we can gain understanding and compassion.