My friend Fran recently lent me a book called ‘The Raging Quiet‘ by Sherryl Jordan. I have read a few Sherryl Jordan books before and while they have always been great, this one was different – more profound somehow.
The story is about a young woman in a medieval(ish) setting who, after being married for two days, suddenly becomes a widow and then finds support and friendship in two of the most unlikely people – the priest and the village ‘mad’ boy.
I have read many fantasy novels and so I thought I knew what to expect, but this book just kept surprising me. The priest was awesome – not creepy or secretly evil – just an all round good guy. The mad boy (Raven) wasn’t mad at all, but as the young woman discovers – deaf!
It was clear from reading the Raging Quiet that the Deaf community is close to Sherryl Jordan’s heart. Her rendition of Raven is compassionate, honest and at times, heart breaking. He is quite possibly the most beautiful fictional character I’ve ever read.
After finishing the Raging Quiet my renewed enthusiasm for learning NZ Sign Language led me to Victoria University’s amazing Online Dictionary – complete with video to learn from – and to meeting up with old friends from my NZSL night class.
There is something deeply fulfilling about being able to communicate and understand others whose experiences differ so greatly from our own. Anything that challenges our worldview – that makes us stop and think – gives us an opportunity to grow. I hope to offer those sorts of moments in my own writing and I love discovering them in my reading.
What about you? What are some books that have changed you?