Mean little deaf queer A memoir

Terry Galloway

Book - 2009

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BIOGRAPHY/Galloway, Terry
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Subjects
Published
Boston, Mass. : Beacon Press 2009.
Language
English
Physical Description
xvii, 230 p. ; 23 cm
ISBN
9780807072905
0807072907
Main Author
Terry Galloway (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Suffering fetal nervous system damage from an experimental antibiotic given her mother when she was six months pregnant, Galloway experienced hallucinations and developed compromised vision and deafness, then in her ninth year "began feeling . . . changes to my own body that seemed as mysterious and inevitable to me as dying." Hampered with army-issue eyeglasses "with lenses as thick as a cow's tongue" and a box-sized hearing aid in a halter with wires snaking up to her ears, she thought herself "a toad—a tubby, moist, myopic croaker." A new persona as a tough, mean, little class clown expressed her frustration and fury in an era lacking the Americans with Disabilities Act, cell phones, texting, and theater of the deaf. Determined to work in theater but knowing she couldn't succeed on a "professional" stage, Gallagher performed in seedy playhouses and on makeshift stages yet experienced "epiphany so intense" that theater became "religious devotion" for her. Told with understandable rage, quirky humor, and extraordinary humanity, this remarkable woman's engaging account deserves a large readership. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Recounts the author's experiences of growing up with a nervous system that had been adversely affected in utero by an experimental medication, describing her hallucinatory youth as a hearing-impaired gay member of a conservative hometown, the defiance that marked her relationships, and her obsessions with language, duplicity, and performance.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

When Terry Galloway was born on Halloween, no one knew that an experimental antibiotic given to her mother had wreaked havoc on her fetal nervous system. After her family moved from Berlin, Germany, to Austin, Texas, hers became a deafening, hallucinatory childhood where everything, including her own body, changed for the worse. But those unwelcome changes awoke in this particular child a dark, defiant humor that fueled her lifelong obsessions with language, duplicity, and performance.As a ten-year-old self-proclaimed "child freak," she acted out her fury at her boxy hearing aids and Coke-bottle glasses by faking her own drowning at a camp for crippled children. Ever since that first real-life performance, Galloway has used theater and performance—onstage and off—to defy and transcend her reality. With disarming candor, Terry writes about her mental breakdowns, her queer identity, and her life in a silent, quirky world populated by unforgettable characters. What could have been a bitter litany of complaint is instead an unexpectedly hilarious and affecting take on life.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

In 1959, the year Terry Galloway turned nine, the voices of everyone she loved began to disappear. No one yet knew that an experimental antibiotic given to her mother had wreaked havoc on her fetal nervous system, eventually causing her to go deaf. As a self-proclaimed “child freak,” she acted out her fury with her boxy hearing aids and Coke-bottle glasses by faking her own drowning at a camp for crippled children. Ever since that first real-life performance, Galloway has used theater, whether onstage or off, to defy and transcend her reality. With disarming candor, she writes about her mental breakdowns, her queer identity, and living in a silent, quirky world populated by unforgettable characters. What could have been a bitter litany of complaint is instead an unexpectedly hilarious and affecting take on lifeFrom the Trade Paperback edition.