Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

Publisher: Dial Books (Division of Penguin)
Date: November 11, 2010
ISBN:  978-0803734333 
Pages:  338

Piper is deaf.  Yet somehow, she's managed to become the manager of a rock band named Dumb.  They gave her one month to get them a paying gig.  She knows she can do it, but they need help.  The band needs to figure out how to become a whole instead of a group of people each doing their own thing.

Dumb consists of: the lead singer, Josh who's cocky, rude and apparently hot.  The bass guitarist, Will who's Josh's twin but not identical and moves and speaks slowly.  The lead guitarist is Tash Hartley who looks like a hard-core punk rocker and comes across as mean.

Once Piper gets her hands on them they add two more members: Kallie - Miss Popular, shallow, guitar novie and Ed - he plays in a youth orchestra and is a killer on the drums.  Oh yeah, then there's Piper's brother, Finn.  He works with Tash and Kallie on their guitar playing.

There's two storylines going on here.  The first is how the band becomes a unit.  There's a couple of amazing scenes about really understanding that making music isn't about making the money, it's about the music.  The scenes that struck a chord with me were these.  One is about Jimi Hendrix and one about Kurt Cobain.  Simply amazing.  Even if you don't like their music, the scenes can't help but be moving.

The other storyline is about Piper's family.  See, Piper's dream is to go to college at Gallaudet (THE deaf college).  But her parents just used her college fund to pay for her 1 year old sister's cochlear implants.  Piper reads lips and signs, she also has hearing aids but they are only practical if it's quiet and she's having one-on-one conversation.  She's understandably angry.  Her mom and brother sign, but her dad refuses and it's hard for them to communicate.  Piper wasn't always deaf, she lost her hearing at age 6. 

The family, as well as the band, have to all learn to support one another. 

The biggest surprise in this book was the character of Kallie.  She was amazing, to watch her come into her own, her hesitation, not knowing if she'll be accepted by any group - simply amazing.

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