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Mean Little deaf Queer

3.51  ·  Rating Details ·  647 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews
In 1959, the year Terry Galloway turned nine, the voices of everyone she loved began to disappear. No one yet knew that an experimental antibiotic given to her mother had wreaked havoc on her fetal nervous system, eventually causing her to go deaf. As a self-proclaimed "child freak," she acted out her fury with her boxy hearing aids and Coke-bottle glasses by faking her ...more
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published June 1st 2009 by Beacon Press (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

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Aug 01, 2010 jo rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Terry Galloway
Aug 01, 2010 Terry Galloway rated it it was amazing
I can't help it. Despite its many flaws I really love my own book. So does my Mother.
Jan 08, 2014 Sarah rated it liked it
This was an interesting read for me, partly because I have a very limited understanding of the experiences of little-d deaf individuals— especially as they differ from those who identify as big-D Deaf.

Having spent years in college learning the basics of American Sign Language and immersing myself in the Deaf community (as any good student of language does), I fell in love with Deaf culture. Those who were born deaf and whose sole language has been ASL, along with children (hearing or deaf) born
Nov 15, 2010 Eris rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-it-hated-it
I'll be honest, I didn't finish this one. I read to the halfway point and gave up. The author has all the ingredients for a fascinating memoir, but something in the presentation was offputting - I can't put my finger on it. I wanted to know more about growing up with the crumbling of your hearing, more about the issues of being outside of both the hearing AND the deaf world - I guess I wanted more of the emotion of being her and less of the mechanics. The facts have some interest, but most of ...more
Mar 06, 2010 Jim rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Unlike most tradition memoirs I've read, MLDQ avoids strict narrative in favor of a series of performances pieces (not unusual given Galloway's skills), each detailing specific events while carrying the theme of self discovery. Galloway's life-long struggle with deafness, sexuality preference, a morbid curiosity of the morbid and ongoing battles with paranoia and bulimia forces the reader to examine their own feelings and beliefs about each of these. Galloway strikes an even balance detailing ...more
i don't know what to say about this book. i saw it on the new shelf at the library & was intrigued, but passed it over the first time. i went back to the library again a few days later & picked it up. & then i let it sit on my shelf for a couple of weeks before i finally read it. it is described as a memoir of a woman growing up queer in texas in the 60s, who slowly loses her hearing throughout childhood due to neurological damage caused by a drug her mother was given during her ...more
Nov 27, 2009 Ivan rated it it was amazing
Over the past decade I’ve read numerous memoirs by writers from the LGBT community, most notably by Dan Savage, Alison Bechdel and Augusten Burroughs. Obviously, some are more successful then others communicating their life’s trials and tribulations. Terry Galloway’s Mean Little Deaf Queer is successful for a myriad of reasons, the most pronounced being her ferocious wit and an ability to write well, as well as engagingly. As a founder (and most visible cast member) of Mickee Faust Club, a local ...more
Jan 02, 2016 Balkirat rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elevate Difference
Sep 12, 2009 Elevate Difference rated it it was amazing
If I had to choose only one genre of book to read for the rest of my life, I would choose memoirs. When I think of the books that have most changed my outlook on life and expanded my understandings of the world, I would think of classic and contemporary works like Black Boy by Richard Wright, Living My Life by Emma Goldman, and Naked by David Sedaris. Terry Galloway’s Mean Little Deaf Queer was such an enjoyable and enlightening read I found difficult to put down.

Galloway reflects on her life an
Aug 12, 2014 wrench rated it it was amazing
Shelves: borrow-my-books
This book is just really nicely written, it's really enjoyable to read and it's really honest feeling (even though parts of it were obvs really absurd and a little bit exaggerated, it felt like the essence was true and that the emotion and experience being shared was honest.)
I don't usually get into memoirs but this was, I dunno... Absurdly on topic for lots of things I've been thinking about recently.
(Queer, d/Deaf, Disability, Bodies, Theatre, Gender, Butchness, Spies, Family histories lots of
May 31, 2009 Liz rated it really liked it
I received this book as a goodreads first read. I am no expert on memoirs, deafness, or the gay/lesbian community, but this book was an extremely introspective look into one fascinating woman's life. Ms. Galloway has authored an intriguing recollection of her childhood through her adult years that frequently left me giggling to myself. Though, at certain times, she also made my heart break.

Ms. Galloway's honest retelling of her life story paired with her talent for prose made this a truly enjoya
Jun 29, 2009 Dru rated it did not like it
Shelves: deafness, first-reads
Before I opened this book, I was intrigued by the title, 'Mean Little deaf Queer'. While I didn't know what to expect, I hoped that it would be as fascinating as the title promised it to be. Instead I felt as if I drudged through the pages. It was as if the author attempted to shock me at every turn, to the point where I actually wondered if she was overdoing it. She professed a love for theatre, and immediately a thought popped up in my head- 'A drama queen who needs the curtain drawn halfway ...more
Sep 15, 2009 lauren rated it it was ok
Shelves: queer
she has an interesting story but i couldn't really get into the writing. i can't quite figure out why i didn't like it that much. i felt like with all of her challenges of growing up queer and deaf i would have liked her to get into things a little more. she covered the deaf part pretty well and I came out of the book having a better understanding of the many aspects of life for a deaf person that i'd never thought of before, and that many of the innovations that make it easier for deaf people ...more
Aug 18, 2009 Laura rated it really liked it
Terry Galloway is not one to shrink from her own personal shortcomings, physical or otherwise. She’s more likely to throw them right in your face until you squirm or laugh or cry. In this memoir she is unflinching in her account of growing up deaf and queer in a conservative and pre-ADA era. She felt betrayed by her body and outcast in a world that didn’t know quite what to do with her. So she raged and performed on-stage and found her way through creating art. This is an alternately inspiring, ...more
Jun 22, 2009 Kerri rated it liked it
I didn't love this one at first, and had a hard time getting into it, but have a true respect for the author for being able to write this, and for remembering the past with such detail. It was a well-written book by someone you do gain a respect for as the story progresses.
Mar 08, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it
As more and more memoirs are published, it becomes harder to find a unique 'hook.' Terry Galloway is both deaf and a lesbian, so it was intriguing to pick up this memoir if just to find out how those two characteristics influenced her life. It seems that being deaf was the more salient point of the memoir and her queerness was more of a secondary tale, but that doesn't take away from the narrative at all.
The book is very loosely chronological; in fact, most of the chapters are more like essays o
Jan 19, 2014 Abigail rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading Terry Galloway's memoir about becoming deaf at a young age, being queer, and being/becoming a performer. Terry's thoughts and memories touch on identity, disability, privilege, and technology. She talks about the unique experience of becoming deaf while very young, and so being little-d deaf, but from early in life. She addresses disability privilege and divisions, her experiences passing as hearing and having to come out as deaf, and the influence that those things had ...more
This was fantastic. Galloway has a real talent for storytelling (and the narrator of the audio version is pretty good).

Anecdotal but also presenting a clear wider picture of a life (just one!) with disability, the author doesn't shy away from her own weaknesses and embarrassing incidents. Her bravery to be human in a narrative she controls and which she could shape to improve her image even if only by dropping minor incidents is almost as inspiring as her stories about the fates of the disabled
Jul 27, 2009 cat rated it really liked it
While not an easy book to read, this is owed not to the writing (it was incredibly well-written and layered), but to the harsh and outsider treatment that Terry Galloway is chronicling from her life. Experiencing the recognition of both her growing deafness (from an experimental drug that her mother was given while prgenant) and her burgeoning queerness around the same time, her life changed dramatically around age 10. Her website says the rest better than I possibly could ..

"But those unwelcom
Apr 16, 2013 Diandra rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2013
Maybe I would have liked this more if I had not read the reviews, or if my expectations weren't so high. The writing style was a little difficult for me to enjoy. The worst part of this was the way the author wrote, a story within a story within a story. It also seemed to jumped around a lot, from her childhood to her birth to college days to present day then back to childhood.

I am happy that there's at least one memoir about LBGT life in a Deaf world (although she considers herself little-d de
Nov 24, 2010 Julie rated it really liked it
Shelves: deaf, f-f, memoir
The title of this book is actually wrong on Goodreads. And, I expect, many other places as well. I didn't catch on at first, because the title on the book cover is in an odd font and the first word is all caps. If there's a significance to that, I don't know it. But it should definitely be deaf, not Deaf.

This is the memoir of an actor and comedian whose view of her self shifted overnight when she was given thick glasses and a bulky, obvious hearing aid. She grew up in the 50's and 60's.

And I alm
Mx. Coco
I received this from a Goodreads giveaway for review.

It was...well there are great memoirs like Angela's Ashes, good memoirs like Look Me In The Eye, fact-suspicious memoirs like A Million Little Pieces and then this. Overall, I'm not really sure what to think. Terry Galloway is an interesting person and when she writes/talks about her life the stories are poignant and interesting. However, it feels like the book, or most of it, isn't spent talking about those things but talking about her failin
Mar 02, 2011 Shelley rated it did not like it
I received this book from Goodreads First Reads contest a couple of years ago. This isn't a book that I would normally pick up to read, but it was free, so maybe that's why I put my name in the slot and the title though rude, was definately different.
I can't say that I was overaly impressed with Terry Galloway's memoir, but this could also be that I was thinking the whole time reading about her life that I wouldn't particularly like her to be a friend of mine, so maybe that's what got in the wa
Jun 22, 2009 CJ rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009-books
I'm not a fan of memoirs, but I love biographies. I guess I don't trust people who tell their own stories. I figure they're going to show themselves in the best light possible. Galloway avoids this trap. She presents herself with all her flaws and manages to do it in a very charming manner.

Even though it's a small book, it was not a quick read. I had moments of fear for her safety, amusement at her 'in-your-face' way of living, and shame at my own reactions to the disabled. Mostly, I spent a lo
Hayley DeRoche
May 09, 2012 Hayley DeRoche rated it it was ok
This has such an interesting premise, but ultimately it fell a little flat for me. I think part of the problem is that Galloway isn't an entirely likable protagonist. She is truly quite a mean little kid, and while certainly her unexpected loss of hearing could account for some acting out, it's still a little disconcerting to read of her tackling a little girl with a bunch of boys, straddling her, and spitting in her mouth (particularly when she wonders later if the girl had Downs Syndrome).

Maggie Burgess
Oct 14, 2013 Maggie Burgess rated it liked it
I REALLY wanted to like this, and I definitely liked... parts of it. A lot happened in this book. It was explained to me that the difference between an autobiography and a memoir is that a memoir focuses on one part of a person's life. Well, I should have known based on the title that a lot would be covered in this book, not just one part or one aspect of the author's life.

Some stories had me unable to put the book down. Other parts had me wanting to skim ahead, looking for the next exciting par
Apr 01, 2016 Megalion rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading this because I am also deaf but I went thru the whole "growing up deaf & adjusting" about 20 years later. There were a lot more resources and things available for me. Closed captioning became a regular thing when I was young. I remember the day my mom excitedly brought home and hooked up our first decoder (before the '92 law that required all tvs over 13" to include it into the tv itself).

But I digress, the author had a much different experience and it was interesting to r
May 01, 2015 Arielle rated it liked it
Shelves: queer
Decent memoir, my favorite parts were the ones where she talked about her experience as a deaf woman meeting other people with disabilities and dealing with her own internalized ableism. On the whole I found it kind of boring and slow in places... I'm not really into theater so I wasn't really interested in her thoughts on Shakespeare and I found the family history parts rather dull. When she wasn't talking about deafness I just felt like I could've been reading anyone's autobiography, all the ...more
Lauren (strangled)
Feb 28, 2011 Lauren (strangled) rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
According to her website, this book is "Running with Scissors meets The Liar's Club" ... that is sadly a total lie. There is No Mary Karr here, aside from the sprinkling of crazy family history. It's more about being deaf & theater than about being queer & female (the latter being my main interest in reading this book). I will still recommend it to friends, but it was nothing incredible. Galloway never bothered to go very deep with her analysis of life events.

Mentions her stint with bul
May 30, 2009 Danielle rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Joci
I received this book through Firstreads. I haven't read a lot of memoirs, but this one sounded fascinating. And Terry Galloway (no "i" there :D) delivered on the promise. I've already lent the book to my sister.

I took about 3 years of ASL in high school; I intended to become an ASL interpreter, actually. That didn't work out, but this memoir nonetheless taught me a lot about what it is like for a little-d deaf person trying to fit into what even I noticed was a fairly closed society (deaf cultur
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Terry Galloway is a deaf, queer writer and performer, who tours her one woman shows as a cheap way of seeing the world. She has performed her solo shows "Out All Night and Lost My Shoes" and "Lardo Weeping," in venues ranging from the American Place theater in New York to the Zap Club in Brighton, England. In Austin Texas she gained a reputation for playing comic male roles as a student and ...more
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