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Train Go Sorry: Inside a Deaf World

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  1,059 ratings  ·  102 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.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 25th 1995 by Vintage (first published January 1st 1994)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,059 ratings  ·  102 reviews

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Jan 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
This subtitle 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 ...more
Oct 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 04, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: deaf-studies
This book consists of the memoirs of the author in relation to Lexington School for the Deaf, New York, whilst also following various students through their time at the school. I completely agree with Unwisely’s comment that the third-person omniscient narrative made the book confusing and feel like a novel.

Having read a few Books on Deaf Culture and the d/Deaf lived experience I found the format of this book refreshing. In terms of themes, however, I didn’t feel it made new ground, merely touch
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’ve read that this book is beloved by the Deaf community. I found it a little disjointed and striving too hard to sound like a Tracy Kidder narrative (it was published in 1994), but it offers a good snapshot of Lexington School for the Deaf and the world of the Deaf in that generation. Cohen grew up as a hearing person in the Deaf community and she describes the pedagogical switch from oral-language based instruction to ASL at Lexington and other schools. I was interested in her personal experi ...more
Brad McKenna
May 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
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,
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 09, 2013 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
RyanE. Erisman
Nov 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
Nov 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010, non-fiction
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.
Jason Pettus
As friends know, here at the age of 50 I've started learning American Sign Language (ASL) for the first time, and am doing a deep dive into the politics and culture of the Deaf community with a capital "D," as a way of compensating for my ever-decreasing hearing and hopefully opening a new avenue for my shrinking social life. (See my review of A Deaf Adult Speaks Out for a long explanation of what exactly "Deaf culture" is, and why it's so important to learn about before getting involved with th ...more
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting book to read, in part because of its datedness. However, I lost some respect for the author when she describes how she took a job as an interpreter even though she had no formal education and not enough real life experience. The program accepted those with no training, but she says she was an "adequate signer most of the time." For someone who respects the deaf community, does she really think that was acceptable? She says she needed a job, but according to her wikipedia, ...more
Jul 01, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2015-16
Leah Hager Cohen's "Train Go Sorry" is at once a memoir and a novel. Having been raised in the halls of New York's Lexington School for the Deaf, where her father was superintendent, Hager Cohen offers readers both a reflection on the events of her life as well as testimonies from the students and staff at Lexington School. She follows the students' triumphs, their struggles, and their advances and fallbacks in both high school and college settings.

What struck me most about this book was the re
Apr 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club
Interesting book to think about in the context of who gets to tell the stories of a specific community, and especially resonates with the part of the book where the author talks about how sign language is the only language where interpreters are not (or very rarely) native speakers of one of the languages. Hager Cohen clearly has a deep connection to the community, and recognizes the

I appreciated the insight into a variety of aspects of the Deaf community, and the look at the intersectionality
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I really enjoyed this book, which is about the Lexington School for the Deaf in New York City and several of its students. The author's grandparents are deaf and her father is the school's superintendent, and she lived at the school until she was 7. There is a lot of history here, and she delves into many of the issues surrounding the deaf community such as learning ASL verses learning to speak English aloud and reading lips. She touches on the Deaf President Now story at Gallaudet University an ...more
Zane Carey
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
i can definitely see why this book is mandatory reading for intro to asl at my college, and i'm glad I chose to read it before the class began. this is one of the first books ive read that has touched on the friction of advocating for communities you will never be apart of and learning to live with the discomfort. i loved the in depth look into some peoples stories. they left me with a feeling of warmth, and there is nothing more touching than reading about intersectional experiences. sofia's gr ...more
Mia Ruefenacht
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating and beautifully written book combining personal narratives with discussions of more general issues facing the deaf community. It doesn't go very in depth with any discussion, but is more of a general overview. The combination of the personal with the general was quite effective and it drew me into the book. The prose style is quite beautiful by itself-I love the way it describes New York City. It often has a sort of melancholic, bittersweet tone which I found quite touching ...more
Kate Stericker
A fantastic exploration of Deaf culture and the nuances of the contentious issues the community grapples with. Cohen writes with insight and sensitivity, and her prose made the students' stories as engrossing as any novel. I particularly appreciated the diverse perspectives she presented regarding the appropriate role for hearing people in predominantly Deaf spaces.
Feb 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: kathy-s-shelf
This book is partly about the author's family life, partly about the history of ASL, & most especially interesting, how deaf people look at themselves & their culture. It brought up some ideas I have never thought about before. ...more
Bonnie Von dollen
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great insight into Deaf culture. This book was required reading for my ASL class but anyone who has any interest in Deaf culture should read it. It's a well written memoir about a woman raised in a deaf school in New York.
Ruby H
Dec 25, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was written in a way that felt like a chore to read. I felt a deep connection to the main 2 students at Lexington but not at all to the author herself. It felt weird reading about the "Deaf world" from the perspective of a hearing person.
Jul 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is so well written, I enjoyed it immensely. It takes you on a journey with two deaf students, with the author's personal story woven through. If you are a student of sign or a student of human nature you will enjoy reading this book.
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this. Interesting; good food for thought, but also a personal story.
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Content was interesting. It gives you a glimpse into a community you would not ordinarily get to see. But the writing was a little dry and dull.
Savannah Rios
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lovely book, well written. Timeline jumping around confused me a little but I figured it out and enjoyed this peak into Lexington and the lives of its students.
Hailey Hudson
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was good!
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite books. The story is very heartfelt and grants a deep look into the lives of the characters.
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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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