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Train Go Sorry: Inside a Deaf World

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  828 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
This portrait of New York's Lafayette School for the Deaf is not just a work of journalism. It is also a memoir, since Leah Hager Cohen grew up on the school's campus and her father is its superintendent. As a hearing person raised among the deaf, Cohen appreciates both the intimate textures of that silent world and the gulf that separates it from our own.
Hardcover, 316 pages
Published June 1st 2001 by Replica Books (first published January 1st 1994)
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This title is slightly misleading; it's mostly the story of students at a school for the deaf in New York City. It manages to do an excellent job of discussing various conflicting factions and attitudes that swirl around education of the deaf without taking sides or demonizing any one group. Due to a a childhood friend who was deaf, I have a long-standing personal interest in deaf issues, and this book really helped me locate her in the context of what was going on politically at the time (a con ...more
Oct 11, 2010 Gaile rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although this is old hat to me, the arguments in this book rang true all through my life. This is about the Lexington School For The Deaf in New York City and how it had to change with the years and needs of incoming deaf students. The war between ASL and the oral method is well documented in this book. In the present day, deaf students are coming from sub cultures and immigrants from the middle east and Russia. Mainstreaming is now the new oral method.There is also the debate on the Cochlear im ...more
Jun 05, 2013 Paige rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book...kind of annoyed me. Leah Hager Cohen is a decent writer, but she doesn't have a strong story to tell here. Or she does--at least, I believe there's several good stories to tell--but she doesn't actually do that to my satisfaction.

This subtitle of this book is "Inside a Deaf World." Wrong. The author is hearing herself, which may not have presented too much of a problem if she had had more focus, but to me the book came off as very "me me me me me." We hear about how badly Cohen wante
Oct 06, 2010 Judy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
I had this book on my shelf for several years before finally getting around to reading it. For me, it is such a joy when an author can make a non-fiction book compelling enough to me that I read all the way through it, just as engrossed as if it were a novel. This book definitely fit that description. The story of the Lexington School, the students and staff, is really fascinating. As much as a person disconnected from the deaf community can, I feel that I gained some understanding of the trials ...more
Jan 14, 2012 Maggie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating 4.5. These days, one of the reasons I read is to learn. I hope that whether the book is fiction or non-fiction it will give me insight into something I'm ignorant of. This book definitely delivered.

Using a school in New York, which the author has a connection to, and the faces of staff, students, and her own education within the deaf community, Leah Cohen helped educate me about the challenges, education, medical aids, politics, and triumphs of the deaf.

This book was always interesting,
Brad McKenna
Apr 05, 2015 Brad McKenna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoire
The story of a hearing gal who's father (also hearing) is head master of the Lexington School for the Deaf. His own father was deaf and so the Cohen family is in a unique position as Deaf Culture blossoms in the 60s. For so long deaf people were forced to learn how to talk and read lips, hearing aids were forced on them whether or not the person actually had enough hearing to amplify. ASL was thought to be too primitive a language to be useful. All that changes though and this story traces a lot ...more
Oh man! I finished this book and forgot to journal on it. That's really frustrating, especially since only one of the things I wanted to say made it into notes. (The only one that did was "Saw there was a story on NPR this morning about Cochlear Implants Redefine What It Means To Be Deaf.

Being the daughter of a severely hearing impaired woman, and a woman who has hearing issues herself, I was very interested in reading this book. the historical bits were wh
Aug 16, 2013 Westcoast_girl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those with Deaf relatives, friends, and family, Hearies new to Deaf culture
This book is an excellent book for hearing people wanting to learn more about Deaf culture. Unlike other books on Deaf culture, this book is written by a hearing woman with hearing parents. However, she is intimately involved with Deaf people and their culture as a grandchild of a Deaf couple, an friend of many Deaf people, a past and present interpreter, and a past hearing resident of Lexington School for the Deaf.

The book can be read chronologically and all at once, or chapter by chapter, int
Nov 04, 2011 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thoughtful and periodically very moving book exploring the students of an all-deaf high school in New York, written by the (hearing) granddaughter of one of its founding students and daughter of the current principal. I was very interested for awhile in deaf politics, with a deaf grandmother and other deaf relatives, so I found both the personal stories and the broader cultural overview interesting. Cohen explores the issues around oralism versus signed communication, relations with the hearin ...more
Nov 29, 2010 Jenna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2010
Highly recommended for anyone who has an interest in nonfiction, Deaf culture, or cultures in general. Train Go Sorry was a requirement for my ASL I class, and while I never would've picked it up on my own, I really enjoyed reading it.
May 17, 2008 Anja rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I chose this book for my Road Less Traveled project because it is informative and opinionated. Leah Hager Cohen grew up in a deaf world, though she and her family were hearing. That is similar to my growing up partially in a deaf community, CODA (Child of Deaf Adult) is what my offical title would be.

This book offers great insight into the life and struggles of the teen-aged deaf attending Lexington High School. She followed the stories of James and Sofia as well as her own life story. She tell
I really like Cohen's writing style, even though the narrative was totally disjointed. I don't know that she went "inside a deaf world" so much as provided vignettes of a particular deaf place. They were beautiful vignettes though; I was also very interested in her musings on being a hearing person in Deaf places. Her father had gained respect and acceptance despite being hearing by being a native signer with Deaf parents, while she was both hearing and a non-native signer which put her even fur ...more
RyanE. Erisman
I chose "Train Go Sorry" by Leah Hager Cohen, because I thought the perspective was interesting and made the book unique.
"Train Go Sorry" is about the author's life in lexington school for the deaf, however the author is not deaf. Leah Cohen's parents are the administrators and live above the school. Through out the story we hear about the other deaf children with every new chapter. The book truly lives up to its title, I feel fully immersed and actually "inside a deaf world".
Like I mentioned b
May 09, 2013 Pam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Train So Sorry: Inside a Deaf World is a great book which provides incredible insight on being deaf and the deaf community. As a hearing person, Leah Hager Cohen is in an unique position to write this book as the grand-daughter of a deaf couple, daughter of the principal and later superintendant of a deaf school, and having grown up living in the deaf school's residence hall. The most significant part of this book is Cohen's presentation of the political issues in the deaf community, the underst ...more
As someone with a deaf family member, this book was very interesting. My niece is lucky enough to grow up in a time when she has so many options available to her as a deaf child. As a hearing person within a deaf community, the author occasionally struggles to combine her two worlds. This book clearly outlines the controversy within the deaf community, of learning ASL to mainstreaming to cochlear implants. I really enjoyed being able to get an insider's look at my niece's world, and to be able t ...more
Apr 09, 2013 Violet rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I would have liked to give this book a higher star rating but this book left to many unanswered questions for me. The book did nake clear about how people felt about ASL and mainstreming. It did give a good history of the School, but I would have liked to know what happened to James, Sofia, and Iria. James gradutates, Sofia gets her bar mitzvah, boom the end, couldn't the author put a note or something at the end of the book saying how they did after the book. Even the author leaves you hanging, ...more
Oct 06, 2011 Roni rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is based on struggling between Deaf and hearing students, staff, and administrators, ASL/Manual Coded English and oralism, institutions and mainstreaming schools, and Deaf culture and hearing family culture. It takes place in New York City - the Lexington School for the Deaf in Queens. It spans between 1970's and 1990's to see how much changes take place in characters' life and school. It is good introduction for anyone who wants to take a glimpse of what issues are going on in Deaf co ...more
Dec 11, 2012 Jhani rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to read a book that is so particular to something you're familiar with (in this case, deaf culture), and know how the average layperson would actually respond to it. I didn't think this book was particularly thrilling but I did think that it accurately portrayed the missed connections between the deaf and hearing worlds. Most people don't realize just how much being deaf can affect a person - it does not just come down to not being able to hear. I would love to recommend this book to a ...more
This book documents the Deaf community in transition in the early 90's. DPN sent shock waves around the world and through social justice movements. The passage of ADA required more resources to be provided to deaf services. ASL gained institutional recognition as a full language. And the intersectional concerns of Jewish immigrant Sofia and African-American James as they graduate high school in this moment are appropriately noted.

This article follows up with some of the people and places in the
Nov 11, 2014 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the book, but constantly switching the focus to different character made it hard to really get into. Overall, I think the book did a good job portraying deaf culture and the difficulty deaf people face. I also really liked the portrayal of hearing people. In a lot of the literature I've read about deaf cultural/people the hearing people come off looking like either just awful people or well-meaning but ignorant idiots. I think this book did a good job of showing both the hearing and deaf ...more
Jan 20, 2009 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great look into the more recent history of deaf culture, centering around the Lexington School for the Deaf in New York. The author, a GODA (grandchild of deaf adults), collected stories from her own life, as well as several of Lexington's students. Through her above average knowledge of the deaf community she is able to infiltrate the culture and act as a literary interpreter for the hearing audience. The stories she gathered are astounding, and act as a reminder of the missed connections, so ...more
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K.A. Erickson
Aug 06, 2013 K.A. Erickson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is first rate nonfiction, journalistic-style anthropology into deaf culture. I felt fully immersed in the deaf community as I read about the lives of deaf boys and girls, deaf immigrants and poor Americans, and professionals working on deaf political issues. Leah Cohen lets the reader into her life, as well, like the best writers do. I found myself pausing periodically at her word choice, as well--which I do not tend to do--and marveling at her use of language. Solid book, gorgeously writte ...more
Robbins Library
A close look at a world many of us are unfamiliar with. Cohen takes a journalistic view at deaf culture, but also a personal one. She includes stories about her deaf grandparents, and also two more recent students of the Lexington School for the Deaf. It was the stories of these two students that I found most compelling, as we got the inside view on their family lives - which were separate from their lives at school - and their aspirations for the future.
Sep 11, 2016 Chrissy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I know that this book is from almost 20 years ago, but it seemed like it was just ranting/raving about how Deaf people were mainstreamed and considered "deaf/dumb" or handicapped before Gaudulet's protest. Not really what I wanted out of this book. People who are not at all familiar with Deaf culture or don't know any Deaf people might benefit from reading this book, but for someone with Deaf friends or relatives probably won't.
Feb 13, 2009 Ellyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007
The author (who is hearing but had grandparents who were deaf and grew up at a school for the deaf) alternates her family's story with the story of two deaf teenagers, Sofia and James. The book explores deaf culture and discusses a variety of controversial issues, including mainstreaming, oral language vs. sign language, and cochlear implants. A little slow moving at times, but it was an intriguing window into a culture that I knew little about.
Nov 01, 2012 Eireanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I originally read this book in college, and hung onto it. Years later, it's still an incredible read. I'm not sure how accurate it remains, as it seems to me (from Deaf people I know) that the times have changed, and several particulars from the culture seem not to have continued...or perhaps I am not privy to it, since I am hearing. Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed this insight into one school's story.
Oct 12, 2016 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very wonderful book if you really want to know about the world of the Deaf. It's very well written too, by a interpreter who has hearing parents, but deaf grand parents. The story of her family and career weaves in and out with that of deaf students at Lexington School for the Deaf, and unlike many hearing people, this author truly gets it. She gets how Deaf people act in both worlds and most importantly, why. This book is a nice change from the ones that only focus on pathology.
Aug 23, 2007 Danielle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I'd heard about this book before, but it seemed particularly appropriate to pick it up now, since CSUN has a large deaf student population. So far, so good.


Final assessment: I really liked it - and felt like I gained some insight into the deaf community (I mean, not an expert or anything, but some basic courtesies to use when dealing with deaf folks). Plus the stories of the historical treatment of deaf folks just about broke my heart.
Apr 09, 2013 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was great. It seems to cross genres, falling somewhere between memoir and research, and that works really well. I cared a lot about the students she profiled, and their stories as well as hers gave forward motion to the book. But the individuals were primarily a vehicle for showing the world of deaf children and the politics of deaf education. Very informative, in a way that made me feel like I'd stepped inside someone else's world.
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Leah Hager Cohen has written four non-fiction books, including Train Go Sorry and Glass, Paper, Beans, and four novels, including House Lights and The Grief of Others.

She serves as the Jenks Chair in Contemporary American Letters at the College of the Holy Cross, and teaches in the Low-Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at Lesley University. She is a frequent contributor to the New York Tim
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“Like storytelling, that incessant loving rush of explaining and repositioning and telling again, all for the sake of finding something shared, something mutually recognized -- so interpreting seemed to me. It seemed a kind of goodness.” 4 likes
“The involuntary poetry of one who is not fluent in the language.” 2 likes
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