Review: El Deafo by Cece Bell

“Our differences are our superpowers.”

Starting and ending the day with a good read will never grow tired on me.El Deafo 6-- bookspoilsStarting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece’s class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.

This funny perceptive graphic novel memoir about growing up hearing impaired is also an unforgettable book about growing up, and all the super and super embarrassing moments along the way.

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El Deafo is filled with all the upheavals and self-questioning of Cece Bell’s early childhood, from experiencing crushes, pushy “best friends” and loneliness, to making many discoveries about lip-reading, including how it can create many awkward misread situations.

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I’d highly recommended this for fans of Wonder by R.J. Palacio. This graphic novel was the perfect blend between funny, realistic, and enlightening to keep me flipping rapidly from page to page.

It’s totally fascinating, and alarming at times to read through what the author went through in her school education, from dealing with “well-meaning” yet completely ignorant folks coming up and asking straight up rude questions to her face, to describing the many cues to notice to fully understand a conversation piece in real life or on TV.

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And to include a few other noteworthy moments:El Deafo 3-- bookspoils

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El Deafo 8-- bookspoilsWow. I feel utterly exposed by the above panel.

El Deafo 9-- bookspoilsThis brought to mind a similar exchange in one of my favorite episodes in Master of None season two.


Overall, I enjoyed this middle-grade graphic novel more than I expected with the months of waiting. So the anticipation to finally read El Deafo paid off quite well. Oh, and just throwing it out there: I’d love to see this story turned into a movie in the near future!

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Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying El Deafo, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Review: Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern

While browsing the library for a book to read (preferably a humorous one at that), I stumbled upon Justin Halpern’s Sh*t My Dad Says. I then proceeded to open up the light read on a random page to see if it’d capture my attention… And it succeeded in making me laugh out loud with this one passage:

On Bob Saget’s Demeanor While Hosting America’s Funniest Home Videos

“Remember that face. That’s the face of a man who hates himself.”

What follows is a book that delivers pretty much everything I’ve been seeking: laugh-out-loud funny anecdotes, family, cursing, and so much more.

Here are a couple more gems I’d like to share:

On How to Tell When a Workout Is Complete

“I just did an hour on the gym machine. I’m sweaty, and I have to shit. Where’s my fanny pack? This workout is over.”

On Chivalry

“Give your mother the front seat…. I don’t give a shit if she said you could have it, that’s what she’s supposed to do, and you’re supposed to say, ‘No, I insist.’ You think I’m gonna drive around with my wife in the backseat and a nine-year-old in the front? You’re a crazy son of a bitch.”

But the true key to fully enjoying this book was listening to it on audio (which is, by the way, only three hours long). The narrator, Sean Schemmel, does this hilarious deep voice that perfectly captures the anger, frustration, and love behind the dad’s words. This read wouldn’t have been as laugh-out-loud funny without the audio format for me. But I do have to note that Schemmel’s choice of using a high-pitched voice for the female characters was absurd and completely threw me out of the story, so I tried to tune that out as much as possible.

On another note, getting to read about Justin Halpern’s relationship with his dad, who’s a rather blunt individual, and sharing his quotes and quips, surprisingly evoked a wide range of reactions. From laughing at one section to being moved deeply by another, I was never short of experiencing numerous emotions throughout my reading experience.

One part that stuck out, in particular, was this breakfast shared with his father at Denny’s:

“Dad, can you please get to the point you’re trying to make? I don’t want to talk about this the whole breakfast with all these people around us,” I said, as I looked to my left and right, indicating that people were listening and that it was embarrassing for me.
He paused and looked around the restaurant, and then right at the college kids next to us, who quickly glanced away.
“You give a shit what all these people think, huh? Even though you never met a goddamned one of them,” he said.”

Sam Halpern really made me shift my whole view with just the one sentence: “You give a shit what all these people think, huh? Even though you never met a goddamned one of them,”

And on said though, that will no doubt be playing over and over in my head, I’ll end my review for this noteworthy book I’m beyond glad to have listened to. If you’re looking for a swift and comical read that’ll have you laughing out loud, Sh*t My Dad Says is the one.

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Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Sh*t My Dad, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

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Review: The Realist by Asaf Hanuka

The Realist is a weekly comic strip collection, unfolding Israeli cartoonist Asaf Hanuka’s portrait of contemporary life, commenting on everything from marriage to technology to social activism through intimate moments of triumph and failure.

This year I’ve taken on the task of, slowly but surely, familiarizing my way through a number of Israeli authors. Hanuka’s comics looked like the perfect component. His work seemed at first glance like an illustrated version of Etgar Keret‘s short story style.

So I began The Realist impressed by the author’s individualistic style, but then in the same breath felt disappointed at the depiction of Asaf Hanuka’s utterly mundane and commonplace life. It was mediocre at best and confusing at worst… Fighting with his wife, not feeling loved by his kid, which I want to note that it read like he, as a father, wasn’t doing the best at showcasing his love, either. Such as, constantly being on the phone when his son is trying to connect with him. It just brought to mind Ellen Fisher’s point about how spending “quality, consistent time where your face is not in the phone” will only benefit you both. You can’t expect the bond between father and son to be there without working on it…

Also, at certain times during my reading experience, I felt like the flow from strip to strip was hard to grasp, especially when the author talked about his marriage. His skips around in time just didn’t help the overarching theme.

Even though things didn’t really pan out the way I had planned or expected it to with The Realist, I fortunately still found some quiet little gems here and there that I’d like to share next:The Realist 1--bookspoils

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I’ve never felt more seen as when I read the above touching comic.
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Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying The Realist, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!