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Hurt Go Happy

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  2,206 ratings  ·  342 reviews
Thirteen-year-old Joey Willis is used to being left out of conversations. Though she's been deaf since the age of six, Joey's mother has never allowed her to learn sign language. She strains to read the lips of those around her, but often fails.

Everything changes when Joey meets Dr. Charles Mansell and his baby chimpanzee, Sukari. Her new friends use sign language to comm
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published August 8th 2006 by Starscape
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4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,206 ratings  ·  342 reviews

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Jun 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Becky by: Kellee
In one of the Goodreads groups I’m in, we do a bookmark swap with other members. For one of the rounds, we each chose three favorite books for the bookmark maker to choose from. The person that was chosen as my recipient, Kellee, chose “The Giver” by Lois Lowry, “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins, and “Hurt Go Happy” by Ginny Rorby. I’d read the other two books, and as much as I love them both, decided against using them as they are both so popular and well-known. “Hurt Go Happy” on the other ...more
Rebecca McNutt
Joey Willis is deaf, but her mother (who's definitely not up for a Parent of the Year award) refuses to let her learn sign language. Why exactly her mother enforces this rule isn't entirely clear, but instead filled with various excuses, including that sign language will show people that Joey has a disability and they'll feel sorry for her - I'd beg to differ; Joey learning sign language would display that her disability does not define her and that she still has words to contribute to the world ...more
Feb 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: kids ages 11-99
Shelves: reread-worthy
I began and finished this book in one day. It is one of the only books to ever move me to tears, right up there with Black Beauty and the Sixth Harry Potter Book. I strongly recomend this book for anyone with a big heart. Im not going to spoil the book by trying to explain the plot; its not that easy. All i can say is that this is one of the most beeautiful books i've ever read. The plot is bitter-sweet, made even sweeter by the originality of it.
May 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Oh geez, I was a weepy mess by the time I finished this book. Thankfully I had put off going to Starbucks where I could sit and finish it while having a mocha, because as many people who read my reviews know, I am notorious for sitting in public places and reading while wiping away the tears and snot running down my face. So I was able to avoid the curious stares from other patrons or the worried baristas coming up to me asking, "are you okay?"

I'm not going to go into what the whole story was ab
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-fiction, animals
Why I picked it up: I saw it listed as a read-alike on The Hub but had never heard of it, and I am generally drawn to stories with deaf characters.

When the story starts, Joey is thirteen. She meets an older neighbor, Charlie, who knows sign language because his parents were both deaf. Charlie has a chimpanzee at his home who he is teaching sign language to. Joey, whose mother refuses to let her learn sign language, finds real understanding with Charlie and the chimp Sukari.

I wasn’t wowed by it.
Oct 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Hurt Go Happy is one of the best (and yet largely unheard of) books I have read recently. It covers many issues that we face in this society: how to treat disabled children, animal cruelty, and domestic violence. As a hard of hearing person myself, I could relate extremely well with Joey's experiences in the "hearing world." Her disability was portrayed very accurately considering the author knew nothing about being deaf before she began the book. All the characters are complicated and lovable, ...more
There were two major issues portrayed in this book: deafness and animal rights. I was highly impressed by the way the author, Ginny Rorby, wrote about both issues, but I was particularly moved by her insight into deafness and how it affected Joey and her mother. The debate over modes of communication for deaf and hard of hearing children is huge and Ms. Rorby presented both viewpoints realistically.

My one complaint is that I didn't care for the way time sped up at the end of the book. Large chun
Ashy Khaira
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-pie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cara Ball
Jul 12, 2010 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: tweens, animal lovers
Shelves: tweens
recommended by my 10 DD as a "must read", I picked this one up expecting to love it. In the end, I didn't love it; however, I have a feeling the story will stay with me. Joey is 13, deaf, and not allowed to learned ASL (her Mother wants her to lip read in order to not stand out). The story takes a turn when Joey meets a neighbor who is raising a chimp, using sign language and is passionate about chimp and animal well-care. There are a lot of issues in this small book which don't all mesh. Howeve ...more
Aug 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
While based loosely on a real event, this story is fictionalized in a way that is very powerful and interesting. The author's impassioned plea at the end for compassion for chimps is heartfelt.

The story itself is very interesting, about a young teen girl who has to deal with deafness. As the story progresses the reader realizes there is a second, hidden story having to do with the cause of her hearing loss. As the truth is revealed to the reader, the story takes several twists.

The mother's desir
Oct 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a very touching book about a deaf girl and a chimpanzee. I don't want to spoil anything so lets just say-- go check it out yourself.
Erised Karstens
Sep 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing discussion book! Ruth was such a complicated character that it was really fun analyzing her psyche.
Rose Black
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
It was such a sweet book. It made you want to laugh and cry. so many touching moments one of the best books i've read. I'm giving itt five stars because there is nothing i would change
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. It is a great story about growing up and discovering who you are. I'll warn you, it is sad. But so, so good.
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Me for

I had actually never heard of this title until I stumbled across it on the New York Public Library's "Books for the Teen Age" list for 2007. How I had missed it is a mystery, one that I can only chalk up to a lack of promotional advertising. Which is a horrible shame, because this book is one of the best I've read in years. If you haven't read it, you should. If you've never heard of it, don't worry, because you'll never forget it once you've read it.

I didn't
Apr 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all the lovers and protector of animals
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Penny Yoke
Nov 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love this book! :))) It's cute, touching, a growing up novel all at the same time! The parts where I get the most emotional over is when Joey saw Sukari at the lab centre. I could visualize Sukari's condition, and it's her hand signs that got me crying. And when they went to the airport and Sukari signed for Ms Miller to hug her, I cried again.
I can't believe that this book is fiction, it sounds pretty real to me. It is a nice change to read something pretty realistic, after reading all those
Bonnye Reed
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is a very moving book. Written with young adults in mind, the story seems simple - but a look into the restricted daily life a hearing impaired teen, and an adolescent chimp who's care giver dies and the choices that are available for her continuing care are extremely limited. This story makes you look at your hidden prejudices and lack of understanding of the difficulties endured by anyone trapped in the silence of deafness, and see from a realistic distance the harm that can be done to an ...more
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book that ever made me cry I believe. It's based on a true story, which makes this book even more heart wrenching and awesome. Hurt Go Happy was incredible and really opened my eyes and ears to some of the things around me in this crazy, messed up, beautiful world. This is about the friendship between a deaf girl and a chimpanzee. Joey Willis is a teenage girl who became deaf because of an incident that occurred when she was six. Her father is not in the picture, and the relati ...more
Laura Ellison
This book was so incredibly good! The main issues in the book were deafness and animal rights. A teenage girl who has been deaf since she was 7 is still trying to come into her own when she knows she didn't really fit. Her hearing loss has created isolation that is only made worse by an extremely controlling and manipulating mother. Thankfully she meets a neighbor who happens to be a CODA (child of deaf adults) and his chimpanzee. Joey quickly finds comfort and love in these two friends and that ...more
Chloe Chang
May 03, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
L-J Johnson
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Christmas vacation one-day read - a young adult book that was one of Victoria's favorites 10 years ago. It's the story of a 13 year old deaf girl who befriends a neighbor: an old man and his pet chimpanzee who's learned sign language. The book wore its animal rights politics plainly, but not at the expense of telling a well-written, interesting story; this was not a PETA pamphlet. Joey was a wonderful heroine - brave, strong, and believable. I especially liked how Rorby was truthful about so m ...more
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Suin Kim
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Animal lovers, physical deformity, people who love great stories
Recommended to Jess by: My L.A teacher
So, in sixth grade, this was the required reading book for English. As everyone knows and has experienced, NO ONE WANTS TO READ REQUIRED READING. Even I didn't. However, after reading the first two chapters I was immediately hooked. This story brought tears to my eyes and I applaud the author. I can not think of one bad thing about this book, granted that it was 3 years ago when I read it. So, actually, I can't REMEMBER anything bad. I loved this book, even though a couple years ago I was really ...more
Becky H.
Jul 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: 10 and up
Shelves: 2008
Hurt Go Happy is a very touching story about a girl, Joey, who has been deaf since the age of six. As she struggles to live in the “hearing” world not knowing sign language because her mother wants her to read peoples lips. The world changes when Joey discovers a neighbor who has a chimpanzee, Sukari, that knows how to use ASL. Sukari and Joey quickly become friends and she begins to learn how to sign.

The story takes a turn when Sukari’s owner Charlie becomes ill. It is up to Joey to save Sukar
Oct 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Hurt go happy is one of my favorite books, it is so sweet. It is amazing how Sukari can have a relationship with the goose and Hidey her cat. Hurt go happy really made me think. When they were walking through the lab tears welled up in my eyes threatening to spill, and I cried even more when Sukari kept asking for 'turtle'. It is astonishing in a good way that Sukari can form a relationship with Charlie, Luke and especially Joey. Sukari can speak human language, and acts like a human child. She ...more
Allison W
Oct 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Hurt go Happy is about a 13 year old girl Joey that lost her hearing when she was 6.Joey's mom wouldn't let her learn sign language because she thought it would make her look handy caped.Suruki is a 2 year old chimp that was rescued from Africa after poachers killed her mom.Charlie thought Suruki sign language so she can tell him what she needs and wants.I thought this book was was very good,it thought me that if someone is deaf you don't have to stare just write out what you need to say.I would ...more
Jacqueline J
A beautiful book. A wonderfully moving story. The chimpanzee is based on the life of a real chimpanzee raised as a human child. I loved the voice of the deaf girl who narrates it. It is actually the most understandable depiction of how ASL works that I've ever read.

The book is well written and flows very well. The characterizations were wonderful. All of the important people seemed complex and real.

I am going to recommend that both of my boys, 10 and 12, read this book. It is very thought provok
Heather Newman
Mar 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who like animal stories, coming of age stories
Shelves: animals, disabilities
Joey has been deaf since she was 7 years old. Her mother has encouraged her to lip read and discouraged learning sign language. She just wants Joey to "fit in". But Joey doesn't fit in, she feels isolated at school and at home. One day she meets a neighbor who has an unusual pet, a rescued chimpanzee, who uses sign language to communicate. This becomes a major turning point in Joey's life.

This is an incredibly well written story. I read it in 2 evenings (I stayed up 'til 2 am the second night to
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add page count 2 12 May 04, 2016 11:23AM  
BOOKS: Hurt Go Happy 1 11 Apr 22, 2013 06:29PM  

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Ginny Rorby was raised in Winter Park, Florida, and lived in Miami during her career as a Pan American flight attendant. Midway through that career, she enrolled in the University of Miami to pursue an undergraduate degree in biology, graduated and changed direction again. She went on to receive an MFA in Creative Writing from Florida International University. Her goal, after wrapping up her flyin ...more