So, it’s been a while since I’ve written a review. No particular reason why; I think I’m simply inconsistent! However, I have read quite a few books in the meantime…even though none of them were ASOUE as I gave up on them. But that’s another blog!
This review, is of the last book I finished. The Visitors by Rebecca Mascull, was unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Summed up, it is a story about a deaf/blind girl called Adeliza Golding, whose family own a hop farm in late Victorian Kent, England. I discovered this gem one day in the library, I’m not even sure what it was that caught my eye, but I picked it up and read the back and immediately was intrigued. I have always been, quite randomly, curious about how people must go about their lives if they are born or become deaf/blind. I even learned the alphabet in sign language as a kid and can still remember it to this day. Did you know there’s a difference between English Sign Language, and American Sign Language? It fascinated me when I was younger that there was an entire language created, which meant that just because you couldn’t speak, didn’t mean you could communicate. I felt the same about Braille; knowing that the blind were still able to enjoy the wonderful world of reading.
But what about those who are both blind and deaf? How could they sign if they can’t see? How do they read if they can’t be told what the bumps mean? How do they know their own name?? It made me sad to think about it. And then I found The Visitors. And I knew I had to read it to see if someone could explain how the world would feel to a deaf/blind individual.
I’m so glad I did. Aside from the story itself, which is full of love, friendship, family and warmth, Adeliza’s journey from ‘The Time Before’ to the woman she becomes is incredible. Considering the author herself is neither blind nor deaf, she puts you in Liza’s shoes in the most fascinating way. It’s impossible to describe how she does it, but Mascull shows you Liza’s world and how she experiences it like she’s been there herself. I cannot vouch for whether or not her writing is a true rendition of life as a deaf/blind individual, but I could not have hoped for a better curiosity quencher.
The Visitors themselves seem to be a secondary aspect of the book; although they are necessary to the plot and tie in nicely with everything going on, I don’t feel like they take away from Liza’s life story. They are a part of her, and so become a sideline, always there but just out of sight and out of mind.
I always enjoy a book that makes you aware of things you weren’t aware of before. Books about other cultures, other countries, other minds, other perspectives…they’re food for thought. I truly feel I put down The Visitors having learned something, and felt something.
I would highly recommend this! 8/10