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The Sign for Drowning

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3.50  ·  Rating details ·  153 ratings  ·  54 reviews
“The morning Megan drowned was very bright, and no one was thinking of danger.”

Anna has grown up haunted by her younger sister’s death. In the life she constructs as a barrier against the emotional wreckage of her family tragedy, Anna settles comfortably into a career as a teacher of deaf children. But a challenge arrives—in the form of a young girl. Adrea’s disarming vuln
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Hardcover, 192 pages
Published June 10th 2008 by Trumpeter
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3.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  153 ratings  ·  54 reviews


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Robyn
Jun 04, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I struggled with what to give this book not only as a rating but as a review.

It's definitely well written. And the plot is interesting. But I feel like by the end it sort of fell off a bit. And there were times that I got bored by what I was reading.

It's short; but there's detail despite its short length (just about 200-ish pages).

I just wish there was a little more oomph in the story and the plot. I kept feeling like something was missing. It also didn't help that I didn't really feel for the c
...more
Micky
Jul 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrew
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
First reread. It's not easy to write a novel, period. It's not easy to write a novel that gets below the surface of things - that is about slow progression and significant spans of emotional history relating to (for instance) surviving trauma and raising a child. And it's not easy to do all of this while maintaining a prose style that is calm, clear and concise. The first time I read the novel was before my divorce, and the horror of the first pages cast a shadow over the whole novel. I remember ...more
Heather
Aug 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Rating B+

Review I read this book with a smile on my face and a lump in my throat nearly the entire way through. Then, when I was done, I returned to the front of the book and immediately re-read some of my favorite passages. My favorite parts centered around the character of Adrea and how she touched those around her. The stories of when Adrea's adoption certificate comes, Adrea finding the African violet plants at the market, Adrea getting dressed up for the poetry reading, and Adrea making her
...more
Donna
Jan 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Some of the most poignant - to the heart - writing ever. I highlighted a lot. Highly recommend this book!
Sylvia Martinez
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
LOVED THE BOOK, however I felt cheated at the ending of it. I don’t want to post any spoilers, but I felt there were something’s we still needed to know before it ended.
Jill Wasberg
Feb 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
Review of Sign for Drowning

I wanted to give this book a ‘1’. Whereas the subject matter of losing a loved one in a tragic accident, adoption, growing up deaf, raising a deaf child, society’s historical efforts in educating and socializing deaf children had a lot of potential to hold my attention, I consistently felt let down by the narration. It was flat and absolutely void of any emotion beyond fear and regret. The story is a sad one, but sad stories usually exist to show even the faintest glim
...more
Sara
Aug 04, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-list-2009
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer
This is a wonderful story of loss and love centered around Anna and her adopted child, Adrea, who is deaf. Anna witnessed the accidental drowning of her 5 year old sister, Megan, when she was just 8 years old. Although her family remained intact, Anna and her parents have never fully recovered from the loss. After the drowning, Anna and her parents begin to drift apart, each grieving, but splintered as a family. In order to try to communicate with Megan, Anna begins studying American Sign Langua ...more
Heather
Jan 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
I was very excited when I was sent a copy of this book to read and review and it did not disappoint. This is the story of Anna, who at the age of eight, on what was deemed to be an ordinary family beach vacation, witnesses her younger sister's drowning in the ocean. The guilt that plagues Anna after this tragedy is central to this story line. Her powerless struggle continues as her parents are lost to her as well, consumed in their own personal grief. Anna finds solace as she learns sign languag ...more
Jody
Jul 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
This was the first book that I won from Goodreads. I really wanted to like it, not just because it was free, but also because I wanted to support a first time author.

The prologue blew me away. The tone, the style, and the description of her sister's death (I'm not giving anything away; the book's description states that the protagonist's sister dies) grips the reader. The protagonist cannot look away, and we, the reader, cannot look away either. It's powerful and beautiful writing.

Then, the stor
...more
Christine
Jul 04, 2008 rated it liked it
The book is about a woman (Anna) still dealing with the drowning death of her sister when she was a child. As a child, Anna learned sign language with the belief she could communicate with her dead sister. The story then shifts to her adult life where her involvement in the Deaf community continuous reminds her of her sister and forces her to come to terms with her death.

Despite the heavy sounding nature of the story line, I thought the book was a fairly light read. While we were lead to believe
...more
Wendy
Jun 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This book centered around the fallout to a family from the drowning of a child and the road to recovery for her sister, found through another child. Anna watched her younger sister Meghan, 5, drown in the waters around Cape Cod when she was 8. From this point on, her family is destroyed even though they remain together. Anna always believes that she could have saved her sister and begins to study American Sign Language as a way to communicate with her sister. As an adult, she teaches deaf studen ...more
Micky
Jul 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cait S
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really, really wanted to like this book. And it started out really promising! I have a soft spot for adoptive mother stories, being adopted myself, and I was really interested in the dynamic between Anna and Adrea. Unfortunately, after about 20% of the book...that stops being the point. It felt very much like the author just had too much they wanted to say. So instead of writing a longer book and spreading out their message with an actual plotline and character development, they just condensed ...more
Jan
Nov 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Six years ago, I wasn't aware that there was such a thing as a deaf community. Our son fell in love with a deaf man and they have been in a committed relationship ever since.

So it was very interesting to me to read this book. I found the deaf community and deaf culture depicted in the book to be pretty true to what I know of it. I can't wait to have my son and his partner to read it and find out what they think.

I liked the characters of Anna and Adrea and their attempts at coping with grief old
...more
Marisa
Jun 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, i-own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Leslie
Sep 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Sign for Drowning is a hard book to catagorize. It describes a family's response to the accidental death of the youngest child, but the overall tone is one of hope. Grief takes many different forms in this novel, some of them redeeming. I loved the language and was not surprised to discover that the author is also a poet.

Anna is a teacher of deaf children, estranged from her grief-stricken mother, when she grows to love one of her students and adopts her. This opens the floodgates of her fa
...more
Leslie
Jul 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
The Sign for Drowning is a hard book to catagorize. It describes a family's response to the accidental death of the youngest child, but the overall tone is one of hope. Grief takes many different forms in this novel, some of them redeeming. I loved the language and was not surprised to discover that the author is also a poet.

Anna is a teacher of deaf children, estranged from her grief-stricken mother, when she grows to love one of her students and adopts her. This opens the floodgates of her fa
...more
Lisa
Jun 09, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I cannot imagine what it would feel like to lose someone in my immediate family. I pray I never have to. This book made me contemplate the different coping mechanisms people have and sometimes the lack thereof. I could feel the pain and understand Anna. I know death can take people over, but just couldn't get behind the idea of still not being able to cope with a death well over 20 years ago and that it could still have such an impact. Again, I have never had it happen to me so maybe I'm just no ...more
Beth Anne
another win on goodreads giveaways! and another great read.

this was a very touching story about a woman who lost her sister as a child...and once she becomes an adult, adopts a deaf child. the story flashes back and forth...and truly delves into the relationship breakdown between the narrator and her parents after her sister's death...as well as the development of the relationship between she and her adopted daugher.

it's a great story told through a fantastic new voice in american literature.
Minnek8
Mar 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2012
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eve (Between The Bookends)
Aug 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is Rachel Stolzman's debut novel and I can tell you right now that it surely will not be her last! I curled up on the sofa yesterday and read this wonderful book from cover to cover. The prologue sets the stage and has to be one of the best, most poignant prologues I have read in awhile. The story of Anna and Adrea is just so wonderfully done, the writing so heartfelt, almost poetic in style. The whole novel is just such a great testament to those who have loved and lost and loved again. I ...more
Susan
Jul 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It was sad and poignant, yet there were many sweet and endearing moments as well. I liked how Anna's growing bond with her adopted daughter Adrea allowed her to come to grips with her feelings about her sister Megan's drowning and her other relationships, especially with her parents. Once I started reading, I finished the book in less than 24 hours and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Brenda
Mar 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a first novel for this author and I think she hit it out of the park! She wrote a very interesting and some times sad story about the emotional wreckage of a family tragedy, and her main characters adoption of a deaf child. Her sister had died at an early age, don't want to say more and spoil the story. This book gives you a very honest look at the lives of those who can not hear and the ways in which they can learn and the different ways they can learn to speak/communicate.
Suzanne
Jun 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
I was selected to get a free copy of this book from First Reads!
I have just finished reading it. I thought it was well written. I was a little concerned with some of the subject matter that it would be depressing and mired in sadness. I am happy to say that in the end, the heroine found her way through the sadness into the continuation of life. I am very glad for both her and her adopted daughter. It was a "goodread"!
Amanda
Jul 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Stolzman has a sort of dreamlike, stream-of-consciousness style that I enjoyed getting to know. She hops through the realms of memory, regret, dreams, and fears at a quick pace, which was like skimming over water. But I did find her story to be a lovely, albeit sad, summer novel. Since death and loss have recently entered my life, this book nudged me to examine that fragile state of longing and grief. In a way, it has even helped me.
Sarah
Jun 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I read was so personal and so convincing I felt like I was reading a memoir rather than a work of fiction.

It is an interesting and unique story dealing with the loss of a child and the gaining of another-told in a way that I haven't encountered before.

Although the novel is hopeful, the tragic portions of the book were so real that it was a slightly depressing read.

Amazingly well written, but be foreward it can be quite sad!
Sharon
Aug 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Anna, who works as a teacher for the deaf, adopts a five-year old girl who communicates only through signing. Adrea's growth in stature and ability to communicate helps Anna come to terms with the loss of her five year old sister Megan in a drowning accident she witnessed decades earlier and the subsequent loss of her parents' ability to cope.
Kim
Aug 27, 2016 rated it did not like it
I reamed to like it but it didn't keep my interest, there was no real plot, characters kept being introduced with no background until after pages of talking with this person. it was very flat reading, not much emotion in the writing. I was hoping it would be great, worth the deaf/signing thing which really interests me because I'm profoundly deaf, but I couldn't even finish it
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Rachel Stolzman received her MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Her writing has received several awards. A resident of Brooklyn, The Sign for Drowning is her first novel.