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Summary

The incredible life story of Haben Girma, the first Deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School, and her amazing journey from isolation to the world stage.

Haben grew up spending summers with her family in the enchanting Eritrean city of Asmara. There, she discovered courage as she faced off against a bull she couldn't see, and found in herself an abiding strength as she absorbed her parents' harrowing experiences during Eritrea's 30-year war with Ethiopia. Their refugee story inspired her to embark on a quest for knowledge, traveling the world in search of the secret to belonging. She explored numerous fascinating places, including Mali, where she helped build a school under the scorching Saharan sun. Her many adventures over the years range from the hair-raising to the hilarious. 

Haben defines disability as an opportunity for innovation. She learned non-visual techniques for everything from dancing salsa to handling an electric saw. She developed a text-to-braille communication system that created an exciting new way to connect with people. Haben pioneered her way through obstacles, graduated from Harvard Law, and now uses her talents to advocate for people with disabilities. 

Haben takes listeners through a thrilling game of blind hide-and-seek in Louisiana, a treacherous climb up an iceberg in Alaska, and a magical moment with President Obama at the White House. Warm, funny, thoughtful, and uplifting, this captivating memoir is a testament to one woman's determination to find the keys to connection. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2019 Haben Girma (P)2019 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"What makes Haben's prodigious story even more remarkable is that she's not satisfied with being inspiring. Because she knows that achievement only happens when there is more than the support of individual extraordinary people, she pushes institutions and leaders in the academy, the government, and in big tech to widen the corridors of power and opportunity. Her intersectional approach to her work as an advocate for the disabled and as a Deafblind daughter of refugees refuses tokenization and demands true inclusion." (dream hampton, award-winning filmmaker, writer, and organizer)

"A stirring memoir of love and resilience. Haben proves there are no limits for living joyously in the world. A fierce, glorious advocate for equal opportunity, she demonstrates that accessibility for all benefits all. Her memoir is a soul-inspiring gift." (Jewell Parker Rhodes, New York Times best-selling author of Ghost Boys)

"With wit and passion, Haben, a disability rights lawyer, public speaker, and the first Deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law, takes readers through her often unaccommodating world...This is a heartwarming memoir of a woman who champions access and dignity for all." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Haben

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Absolutely brilliant

This book is wonderful, beautiful and powerful! The all encompassing sensory descriptions make the story so rich. Haben's experiences and how she deals with them is empowering reading them as a disabled person myself.

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A brilliant autobiography

The world is simply a better place with Haben Girma in it. In her brilliant autobiography Haben takes you on her journey, with honesty and humour in equal measure. If you don’t understand the need for a more inclusive world, read this and think again. If you do understand the need for inclusion, read this, you’re in for a treat!

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Loved it!

Fun, inspiring and informative. The fact that it's Haben herself reading it made it very personal. Feels like sitting next to her telling her amazing journey.

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  • Calucin
  • 10-08-19

Wonderful story, told in her own voice.

I have been following Haben since my own vision loss started in April 2016. I was not aware of her entire life story. Through her own fourth right fullness, intuitiveness and hard, hard work, she graduated from Harvard Law school. That, in itself, is a huge feat. Yep, she continues to push forward for advocacy for those with disabilities. While climbing a glacier, surfing and traveling the world. Kudos.

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  • Craig
  • 18-08-19

Incredible storytelling

This book is amazing! It’s full of sweet and hilarious stories. It’s a great book that everyone should read. And Maxine is precious!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-09-19

Excellent Next Level Thinking!!!

I just finished listening to the audible and I’m going to listen to it again😊👍🏾💯

1 person found this helpful

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  • jagitzes
  • 16-09-19

Delightful and Incredible - Highly Recommend

Haben has a fascinating story with a lot of heart and words of wisdom. She is a testiment to what you can do if you "live boldly" and stand up for yourself and others. Many able-bodied individuals don't think much about how disabled people live, but she brings that to the surface with fascinating detail and makes you think about the world around you in a new light.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-09-19

a stellar, heartfelt performance

I'm very glad Haben Reddit herself. I love her voice! I love it both in words and in its engaging animated self. I have already recommended this book to one friend, and will recommend it to several others before I'm done. I hope you enjoy it!

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  • Jody Kennedy
  • 15-09-19

Excellence

I first heard her speak on Book TV. I listened with great admiration, I was glad she wrote her story This book is educational and has inspired me personally to take risks finding new ways of coping and overcoming challenges in my own life.

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  • Carol
  • 06-09-19

I could not listen to the narration

It might have been better to have the author narrate the introduction and have someone else narrate the book. I do wanted to listen the entire book, but it just became intolerable for me. I going try to just read it.

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  • HN
  • 13-08-20

Challenges perception people with deafblindness

Great book on individual experience living DB and he need for advocacy & high expectations

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  • HappyBuyer
  • 02-07-20

You will love her, too

This book will help you understand the challenges that disabled people experience in navigating through life. They don’t ask for a break, only an opportunity.

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  • Cortlan James Wickliff
  • 22-06-20

Experience the World Through a Unique Perspective

I loved every minute of this journey. She experiences the world in such vivid detail and crafts and immersing experience with her words. She delivers suspense, humor, and imagery that rivals any literary work. You find yourself forgetting that this is a real life memior and not an enthralling work of fiction in the style of mid-century coming of age classics. Somehow the Author simulates the experience of her limited hearing and vision in a way that makes you feel her longing and isolation. You hang on the highs and lows of every conversation and interaction as they shape her into the exceptional woman she is today. This story is a must read for any person nervous about their place in the world and summoning the courage to proceed into the unknown. It is impossible not to read this boom and feel empowered to be a change agent in your community. And hearing it Haben's voice is an irreplaceable experience. even if you have read the book I encourage you to give this version a listen.