In an emotionally compelling tale crackling with originality, when a teen musician goes deaf, his quest to create an entirely new form of music brings him to a deeper understanding of his relationship to the hearing world, of himself, and of the girl he meets along the way.
Music is Simon’s life - which is why he is devastated when a stroke destroys his hearing. He resists attempts to help him adjust to his new state, refusing to be counseled, refusing to learn sign language, refusing to have anything to do with Deaf culture. Refusing, that is, until he meets G, a tough-as-nails girl dealing with her own newly experienced deafness.
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Decent, but not a favorite
Impossible Music is about a young man, Simon Rain, who suffers a stroke and ultimately loses his hearing. This causes Simon to experience this self-loathing when it comes to being deaf—he resists therapy, learning Australian Sign Language called Auslan, and even different treatments that are suggested for his deafness. His #1 passion in life is music and the book follows his journey in discovering that music is a universal language that all people can related to—even HOH/Deaf culture. He realizes that music doesn’t need sound to be enjoyed.
During this book, he also falls in love with G, a “manic” rocker chick that deals with tinnitus, as well as suicidal ideation.
Pros: I really enjoyed the way the novel was laid out. I liked reading the italics and the different fonts that represented communication done by writing notes. When quotes were used, it was only when Simon was speaking out loud. I thought this was a nice touch. Another positive is that the author does a really good job at using language to tell this complicated story. He is able to describe terminology and signs in a way that’s not too distracting. Finally, another positive is that it’s representative of the HOH/Deaf community.
Cons: Even thought his is representative, it’s not Own Voices, so I’m sure most of this research is just that. Research. Not real life experience. I would have liked to see more emotion behind the writing (or within the story), rather than it being a giant info dump. Another negative was that I did not like the timeline in the book. I felt like the dates were unnecessary because 1. Everyone seemed to think Simon should just get over his deafness 4 months after his stroke. And 2. I felt like time was thrown around throughout the chapters, so the chapter headings with the dates were so confusing. And finally, I felt like nothing actually happened in this book to warrant 300 pages. All the story included was Simon dealing with being deaf, finding a girl to “save” and love, and then writing to someone about his proposed musical event.
Overall, I would have given this book a 2.5, but I was being generous because I did find the story and the idea fascinating and the prose was decently written, kept my interest for more than 51% of the time. The other 49% I was slightly bored.
Thanks to HMH Teen for giving us a copy in exchange for an honest review.