Book review: Finding Zoe

image– A Deaf Woman’s Journey of Love, Identity, and Adoption by Brandi Rarus and Gail Harris.

Brandi Rarus lost her hearing at age six. She met her husband Tim after seeing him at the Gallaudet Uprising, and they fell in love a year later, devoting their lives to each other, improving the lives and communication for the Deaf, and later, raising their three hearing sons.
Despite being head over heels for her boys, Brandi kept dreaming that she’d have a daughter someday. She didn’t know when or how, but she knew a little girl was out there waiting for her.
When Zoe was born to Jess, a high school student who knew she couldn’t raise a baby on her own, Jess did her best to find the ideal couple to raise her little girl. But when the adoptive family discovered Zoe’s increasing hearing loss, they made the agonizing decision to let her go.
Set against the backdrop of Deaf America, Finding Zoe is story about a remarkable family and gives us a poignant insight into their culture and its history. It’s a story about doing what is right and watching how the pieces can just fall into place, as it did when Zoe found her true family.

My thoughts:
This book taught me way more than I thought it would. I didn’t really know anything about the deaf community, and Finding Zoe really brought some interesting things forward. I’ve never had a friend with even a slight hearing problem, never mind actually being deaf so I couldn’t really relate to what Brandi went through growing up. Having finished this book though, I now feel like I have a better understanding, and I’d like to think that it would help me if I did come into contact with a deaf person.

Reading about Brandi growing up was great. She had difficult times, but also had a good friend group. When she embraced the Deaf Culture in college, though, life took a huge turn upwards. It was super interesting to read about how certain things worked, and seeing how Brandi become a spokesperson for the community – doing her world a whole lot of good! She married Tim and had three lovely boys but felt like she was missing something in life. She dreamt of having a daughter, and with great luck, Zoe landed in her arms.

I thought the story was pretty heartbreaking. Zoe had an unsettled first few months, with the adoption process having problems throughout the journey. I felt so sorry for Jess having to go through everything she did. Giving up your child has to be so difficult, even if you know it is for the best. It was great to read about the whole process though, to see what happens and how much support is available. Jess made the best of her situation, and it was lovely to see everything coming together and working out. I really enjoyed reading the final bits – seeing how everyone was getting on and how their communication with Zoe was still going. It was just lovely to read about a little girl getting the family support that she needed, and the adults in the situation all working together to create a perfect solution. A heart warming read!

My Rating – To see my book review rating guide click here.

*Thanks BenBella books for the review copy!