Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Finding Zoe, Brandi Rarus and Gail Harris ~ book review

books, reading, read with me, nonfiction, amreading

When the information for Finding Zoe came across my email I jumped on it pretty quickly. The opportunity to review the book for Pump Up Your Book was one I couldn't pass up.

A little history - if you don't yet know this about me - is that I know and love American Sign Language. I have a fascination with it and the deaf community. One that started at a young age.

When I was in elementary school my best friend's aunt taught us to sign the alphabet. Shortly after that a family moved in across the street from us. The children were deaf. My ability to sign developed at that point. I used ASL for years. And then I didn't. And then I did again. I don't use it much these days and I'm extremely rusty, but I can still finger-spell with the best of them!

Anyway, before this turns into a bit of an autobiographical post, you can tell why I wanted to read more about Brandi and Zoe. But let me tell you more.

I liked Brandi immediately. Her openness and honesty when telling her own story - her struggle between her hearing world and her new non-hearing world - drew me in.

The turning point for Brandi appeared to happen when she was a teen attending her first all deaf experience. She went to a camp in Upstate NY and walked away from it a changed young woman.

"It was as if I could finally believe in my future." - p. 30

I don't usually quote from the books I review. But this sentence is a pivotal and defining moment. I truly believe that it led to her finding Zoe all those years later.

Much of the start of the book takes us through Brandi's early years, her meeting and marrying her husband Tim, the births of her three sons, and ultimately, her ceaseless longing for a daughter.

It's no surprise to you that she and her family eventually "found" and adopted Zoe. What I truly appreciated in this book was the walk through Zoe's biological parents' experience prior to Zoe joining her family. It was truly unexpected and something I would have expected to see glossed over.

Brandi's writing is familiar. It's friendly. It's open. There's so much more to say but this review would become a novel of its own if I kept at it.

It's a real and raw account of a woman who finally feels that her family is complete. It's a story of a baby who was wanted and dreamed of before she even existed.

It's truly a story of Finding Zoe.

You can find yourself a copy of Finding Zoe: A Deaf Woman's Story of Identity, Love, and Adoption on Amazon.**

* I received a copy of this book from Pump Up Your Book to facilitate my review. All expressed opinions are completely my own and I was not compensated for this post in any way. *

** If you buy it through my link you'll give me a few pennies towards my next read!


  1. I'm going to have to check this one out. I have a long-lost love of ASL. When I was in high school I volunteered at a BOCES summer camp where I learned a lot of ASL. I was working with the deaf campers! Later on I worked at a pre school program for kids with Downs' Syndrome, and learned even more!

  2. Cool. I can't say I have read anything about deaf people since The Diary of Anne Frank in school.


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