Publication date: April 5, 2022
Pages: 416 pages
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ☆☆☆☆☆
Sweet Spark: Wow! While I keep reminding myself this is a fiction book, Arlo's struggles felt so real and heartbreaking. Where should the line be for an interpreter, and how much of the job is supposed to be advocacy?
I have to open this review by admitting that I first agreed to read this book because I could not imagine an actual serious main character who was a DeafBlind Jehovah's Witness. Like, where could it even go from there?!?
But Arlo Dilly is totally believable, and worthy of advocacy. Arlo has lead a pretty sheltered life, but no one really knows quite how sheltered until he starts taking a college course and needs an additional interpreter (his regular interpreter, and older JW woman, has been with him for years). The new interpreter added to his team is Cyril. Cyril is decidedly not JW, and is aware of many of the resources that Arlo has been missing out on. While Cyril tries not to rock the boat, he also believes strongly in his job as an interpreter - and that his job is not to decide things for Arlo, but to help him make his own informed decisions with interpreters only acting as his voice.
The technology and new communication methods for the DeafBlind were just amazing to read about. I was fully engaged in Arlo's story, and experienced both rage at those who were supposed to be looking out for his best interests, and hope for him and others like him to be able to share their ideas with the world, and lead lives that were happier and more fulfilling for them.
This was a wonderful book to open readers' hearts and minds. It was impossible not to sympathize with Arlo's struggles and experiences. I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars and will especially recommend it to a few friends who work with deaf and hard-of-hearing populations.
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my advance electronic copy of this book. Receiving the book for free did not influence my review.