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Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  186 ratings  ·  39 reviews
The incredible life story of Haben Girma, the first Deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School, and her amazing journey from isolation to the world stage.

Haben grew up spending summers with her family in the enchanting Eritrean city of Asmara. There, she discovered courage as she faced off against a bull she couldn't see, and found in herself an abiding strength as she ab
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Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 6th 2019 by Twelve
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4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  186 ratings  ·  39 reviews


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emmy
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
I will definitely be advocating for this book with our educator and school board customers in particular, but also just for general readers. We will be including it in the Politics of Disability section of our bookshop. It's a great title, and much needed.
Brittany Baker
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This book was incredible. Haben Girma's life so far is a story worth telling, and it is beautifully told. She has the rare ability to explain key moments in her life so clearly and vividly that one experiences them with her. (It is one thing to tell someone a story, and another thing entirely to help them feel it.) Girma's big heart and wonderful sense of humor as she describes the joys and frustrations of her life made this memoir a genuine pleasure to read. With kindness and patience, she ...more
Glenda Nelms
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing, incredible and worth telling memoir of resilience and love. Haben Girma’s Story teaches us to embrace the unknown, never give up and stand up for yourself. She demonstrates that accessibility for all benefits all. Haben continues to advocates for equal opportunities for people with disabilities. One of my favorite quotes from her memoir “Writing is Advocacy. Writing is strength. Writing is power”Thank you Haben Girma for sharing your story and advocacy.
Donna Hines
Aug 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Haben Girma had to overcome numerous challenges and did so with grace, dignity, and superb insight.
Yet through all these challenges she never changed who she was internally and kept her stand to help others in the fight for the same working closely with Americans with Disabilities.
Her story doesn't have a beginning , middle, or an end as she is busy living it in full fashion for the world to see including but not limited to the Former President and Vice President of the United States of America
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Anne Slater
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished
This is an amazing depiction of a seriously intelligent woman with a progressively worsening disability who just keeps saying YES to life. Not an ounce of self-pity to be found, and even a love affair hinted at if you follow the names of the people in her life.

The world is fortunate to have her in it. Her persistence, her intellectual capacity and creativity, her forthrightness make Haben Girma a total winner. Her thoughtful observations of that is available and what is necessary to provide disa
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Lindsay Kerr
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was wonderful to read a little bit more about one of the many influential disability rights advocates after meeting her at an event in Los Angeles.
Suzanne
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A lovely and delightful depiction of Haban's persistence, humor and strength. The reader will enjoy her adventures, obstacles and victories.
Susan
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you Sarah for this recommendation! What a journey so far for Haben, her family and the reader. This woman does not accept the words no or impossible. She encourages us to dream, live and astound the "normal folks". Good on her!
Neelam Babul
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was incredibly inspiring and captivating. Haben Girma's life is worth reading and understanding. She portrays a unique ability to explain the pivotal moments in her life so vividly that one experiences them with her.

Girma describes the joys and frustrations of her life as a deafblind woman who perceives herself as capable of accomplishing whatever she desires. Throughout the story, one reads her experiences as she conquers various feats without regarding her disability as a drawback.

G
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Leslie
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazing book to read. Haben interweaves much needed advice on the life of people with disabilities. She gives so many example about how she navigates life while having great adventures.
Best book I have read in a long time.
Catherine Wojtkun
Haben grew up spending summers with her family in the enchanting Eritrean city of Asmara. There, she discovered courage as she faced off against a bull she couldn't see, and found in herself an abiding strength as she absorbed her parents' harrowing experiences during Eritrea's thirty-year war with Ethiopia. Their refugee story inspired her to embark on a quest for knowledge, traveling the world in search of the secret to belonging. She explored numerous fascinating places, including Mali, where ...more
Seymone
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book really opened my eyes to disability discrimination and disability politics. As a non disabled person, I rarely think about the challenges that disabled people face. Going forward, I will be more open/aware to the challenges that others face.
ellis
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, read-2019
i don't really have great words to describe this memoir - it's a look at life as a deafblind person in america. it blows my mind that she is only 3 years older than me, and i haven't heard of her before. i'm going to be following her career with great interest!!
Lisa
Aug 25, 2019 added it
Haben Girma is an amazing person and her story is incredible and inspiring. The book itself feels like it was written for a younger audience.
Sarah
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommendation from O Magazine - a bit disjointed like some autobiography, but with a powerful thread/ message of strength and activism.

Don’t call someone blind - say they have a disability. They can do anything anyone else can do - including slide on a glacier slide.

P224 Hellen [Keller’s] disability didn’t hold her back, nor did her gender [women weren’t allowed at Harvard in those days]; it was the community at Harvard that chose to create barriers for women.

Neither Harvard Law School or Hana
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David Ryan
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book that I would recommend --
Jennifer S
I really wanted to like this book. Haben was born Deafblind and succeeded in going to college and on to Harvard Law, now pursuing a career advocating for the disabled. She clearly had to overcome unimaginable obstacles to succeed as she has, but the book did not do a great job of telling this story and making me really comprehend her challenges in a personal way.
Phi Beta Kappa Authors
Haben Girma
ΦBK, Lewis and Clark College, 2010
Author

From the publisher: The incredible life story of Haben Girma, the first deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School, and her amazing journey from isolation to the world stage.

Haben grew up spending summers with her family in the enchanting Eritrean city of Asmara. There, she discovered courage as she faced off against a bull she couldn't see, and found in herself an abiding strength as she absorbed her parents' harrowing experiences during Eritrea'
...more
RuthAnn
Thank you to Libro.fm and Hachette Audio for my free audio copy for review!

A few notable aspects about this audiobook:

- Haben reads for this production! I assumed that a deafblind person wouldn't be able to speak, but my assumption got shot to pieces right away. I needed to adjust to her tone of voice, but I'm glad to have heard her story in her voice.
- I learned A LOT about what being deafblind is like. It reminded me of when I read El Deafo, and the physical, everyday reality was so foreign
...more
Living My Best Book Life
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, autobiography, memoir
Haben: The Deafblind WOman WHo Conquered Harvard Law was a compelling and inspiring autobiography about a woman who learned to grow with her disability instead of letting her disability define her.

I first learned about Haben when she had a meeting with President Barack Obama. So, I was eager to get to know her through her book.

Haben's journey of being deafblind was educational and moving. She detailed the moment she realized something was different about her and went all the way to when she at
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Nicole
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir
Haben Girma, a deafblind woman, only sees shadows and hears high frequencies, and as she ages, these two senses are diminishing even further. But Haben is curious and feisty, and she insists on trotting around her neighborhood and the world, to the dismay of her overprotective parents.

The book’s title is somewhat misleading. While Haben did attend Harvard Law School, details of her time there come near the end of the book. Most of the story focuses on her childhood and college years, which help
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Lisa
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wackynonfiction
I really enjoyed this quick read. Haben's family history is as interesting as her childhood is as intriguing as her journey to adulthood. Being a deafblind woman, Haben's story guides the reader to understand civil right issues for persons with disabilities. It made me constantly think about my library - how user-friendly is it to persons with disabilities? What if Haben walked in and asked us for assistance - how would we react and provide her with the outstanding customer service we pride ours ...more
Jane
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading Haben's story. I am not going to say it is inspiring because I think she would be annoyed. She wants to be treated as everyone else and to make things easier for her to live in the world. The book is not only about her life but her struggles with a disability in an able bodied world. I am now more attuned to how to treat a person with a disability and need to be sure not to make assumptions.
Laura G (lauralovestoread)
Haben Girma has such an impactful life story to tell, and I was blown away by her memoir. As the first deafblind woman to graduate from Harvard Law School, Haben shares her experience in a moving way, and uses them to bring awareness and advocate for people with disabilities.

Thank you to the publisher, and to Libro.fm for the gifted copy and audiobook. All opinions are my own
Allyson Ferrari
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: disability-lit
Haben is a great advocate for the disability community and she breaks down some of the ableism she personally faced and how it’s pervasive thinking. I wish she went deeper at times but overall it’s a good read. If you’re new to ableism and disability rights at all (or even if you’re well versed), it’s a great read.
Elaine Bowman
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick read. Autobiography written by a relatively young author about growing up Deafblind and how she navigates the world including trips to Africa, undergraduate university, Harvard law and becoming a successful disability rights lawyer and advocate. Worth reading.
Jan C
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An easy read, I was struck by what a strong will Haben has. And, she writes as tho every thing she does is perfectly normal, or ordinary for a person with disabilities. Maybe it is. Maybe I've been looking at disabilities all wrong.
Beth
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible book! Highly recommend.
Carol C
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An incredible story that was pretty well written. I found it fascinating to get a sense of what Haben's world is like. This offers a good perspective on disability rights and ableism.
Cathy
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t read nonfiction. ...but I’m glad I read this one. A great story about an inspirational woman, told in a voice that captivated me. I really liked it. Two thumbs up!
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Haben Girma advocates for equal opportunities for people with disabilities. President Obama named her a White House Champion of Change. She received the Helen Keller Achievement Award, and a spot on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Chancellor Angela Merkel have all honored Haben. Her work has been featured in the Financial Times, BBC, Washingt ...more