The Sign for Home by Blair Fell
4/5/22; 416 pages
Atria/Emily Bestler Books
The Sign for Home by Blair Fell is a recommended
Arlo Dilly is a DeafBlind 23 year-old man and a Jehovah’s Witness
who is under the guardianship of his uncle, Brother Birch. He is
taking a college class and looking for an interpreter to assist
Molly, his long time interpreter. This is where he meets Cyril
Brewster he takes the job. He also alerts Arlo to the many ways
that Molly has been making decisions without consulting him. It s
also clear that Brother Birch has been controlling his life and
keeping him away from Shri, the girl he fell in love with at a
boarding school for the deaf.
This is a descriptive, touching, educational, sometimes humorous, and uplifting story. Chapters alternate between the point-of-view of Cyril and Arlo, with
Cryril told in the first person and Arlo in the second person singular.
pace is slow in the beginning of this coming-of-age novel, but it
does pick up. On the positive side it does educate readers about the
of sign language, communication devices,
the Americans With Disabilities Act,
and the many resources available to the DeafBlind community. The
descriptive passages are very well done. You will be cheering Arlo on as
he makes his way to self-determination, independence, self-fulfillment,
and happiness. It needs to be mentioned that Jehovah's Witnesses are an
intricate part of the story and they negatively portrayed, which may be
objectionable to some readers. People are free to practice their
religious beliefs so this unfavorable portrayal made me uncomfortable
and will admit that this was almost a did-not-finish. Based on the many
positive reviews, I set my misgivings aside, finished it, and the last
third of the novel was worth it.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Simon & Schuster.