Monday, March 26

Burn Down The Ground by Kambri Crews

As a Coda (children of deaf adults) I identified with and thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found out about it from a group I belong to on Facebook, Coda. I wouldn't have found out about the book otherwise because I didn't see it marketed anywhere.

I was hooked from the beginning when Crews recounted a trip she, her parents and brother took to attend a bowling tournament. How that brought back memories! My parents were very active on bowling leagues and every year, we attended the Deaf tournaments.

Kambri Crews' parents were proud and tried to provide a stable home for the family but it didn't work. The family lived from paycheck to paycheck. They'd fall behind and would face eviction. They'd have to move. For years, the lived in what seemed the backwoods of Texas. At one time, they even had to live in a tin shed!

Kambri's father had trouble holding down a job. I'm not sure it had as much to do with his deafness as it did his drinking. He was a paranoid, angry man but she didn't see that until years later. To her, her father was a hero.

Kambri shared some of what it was like to be part of two cultures, Deaf and hearing. There are also issues with having Deaf parents--interpreting, for one. Luckily, she didn't have to interpret often for her parents because her mother could hear a little and could interpret herself.

Another issue is that the parents seemed pretty neglectful. They let Kambri and her brother pretty much run wild. At one point, Kambri's brother became violent and terrorized and bullied her. When she tried to get help from her parents, they just seemed to shrug it off and attribute it to sibling rivalry. Years later, Kambri learned the reason for her brother's violence--something she'd been shielded from for years.

Kambri's family fell apart. The parents divorced. The brother became involved in drugs and eventually went to rehab. Although Kambri became a successful business woman, she went through a period of time when she drank, used drugs, and became promiscuous.

In a burst of violence, Kambri's father nearly killed his girlfriend and was sent to prison. That's about the time Kambri was learning all these other secrets about her father that explained why her brother had become such a bully. She had to reconcile these new facts about her dad with the image of the man she'd so admired.

It was a very honest memoir with moments of humor to soften some of the difficult parts. I definitely recommend it! Reading it, I felt inspired to write my own. Maybe I will.

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