Hey guys, so today I am coming to you with a short discussion talking about why I generally don’t like to read about characters who share my disability (I am deaf). I think it really depends on who you are as a person and what defines/makes you up as a person as to whether or not we like to read about characters similar to us – whether that be a disability, gender, sexuality or any other trait. But, I at least at this point in my life, don’t like to read about deaf characters.
BOOKS WITH DEAF CHARACTERS I WON’T READ
^The number of books with deaf characters in YA is laughable^
I rarely read books with deaf characters, part of this is down to the fact that books rarely have characters with physical disabilities (aka. not mental health issues) but mainly it’s because I purposely avoid them. However, I have read two notable books with deaf characters that I would recommend. Aka. the Magnus Chase trilogy by Rick Riordan and Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick. You can read my gush reviews here & here. I will say though, and this will definitely contradict this whole discussion and probably come back to bite me on the *ss later. But, there is a character in The Raven Cycle with the same disability as me and he is pretty much the main reason I love that series purely because I relate to that character so deeply.
So, now that I have talked about the books with deaf characters that I do enjoy, let’s discuss why I generally steer clear from deaf characters in books!
So, I am an 18 year old deaf female. I have been deaf my whole life and I pretty much never experience representation when it comes to my disability. Don’t get me wrong rep means the world to me, because not only does it makes me feel validated and like deaf people matter, but it gives others an insight into the struggles we face just in the day to day. So… why don’t I want to read about deaf characters? Well, I showed some books above and excluding 27 Hours (hella problematic author) I have made a conscious decision over the years to not pick up books about me. I don’t want to read about a teenage deaf girl in high school because up until this year, that was me. I lived that for 5 years and I’m done – I don’t need to go through that again.
I don’t need to read about deaf people going through a hard time in public school because that was me. I have lived that life and I don’t need to go through that special brand of hell again. I think that rep is amazing and such a great thing for other deaf people, and can be educational for fully hearing readers who quite frankly don’t have a clue (no offence, sorry) but, I am the character. I don’t need to read about people not understanding my disability because, been there done that.
So, do you guys like to read characters similar/the same to you or are you salty like me and is it just too close to home?