Book – Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby brings us thirteen-year-old Joey who lost her hearing at the age of six. She can almost remember the sound of her mother’s voice, which is still the only voice in her family she is able to follow by reading lips. Joey’s mother just wants her daughter to blend in to the hearing world, and refuses to let Joy learn sign language, fearing it will make her an outcast. However, this only manages to make Joey feel even more left out and lonely. Joey struggles to communicate with people in her daily life, like her stepfather whose bushy mustache makes lip-reading impossible.
Everything changes the day Joy meets Dr. Charles Mansell and his signing chimpanzee, Sukari. Suddenly a whole world of possibilities opens up for young Joey, as she secretly begins to learn American Sign Language. Struggling to keep her newfound friends private from her mother, Joey is torn between wanting to head her mother’s wishes and being able to communicate with the world around her. When tragedy strikes and Sukari’s life hangs in the balance, Joey will stop at nothing to save her friend.
Having read, and enjoyed El Deafo by Cece Bell, I was excited and hopeful Hurt Go Happy would be just as good a read. The second half of this novel was a bit darker than I anticipated, following Joey’s fight to save the chimpanzee, Sukari, but it was a really interesting read overall.