Title: Hurt Go Happy
Author: Ginny Rorby
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction
Length: 272 pages
Joey, a thirteen-year-old girl who is almost completely deaf, lives a lonely life. Her mother, the only person who’s lips she can read well, is the sole person she’s able to fully communicate with. She only recently made her first friend at school. Her mother refuses to allow her to learn or use sign language for fear it will draw attention to her disability.
Then one day she meets Charlie, an older neighbor, and he introduces her to Sukari, a chimpanzee that lives with him and communicates using sign language. As Joey becomes friends with Charlie and Sukari, a whole new world opens up to her and Joey learns that she must make decisions that affect more than just her.
I discovered Hurt Go Happy when I randomly clicked on Her Book Self’s BBAW Hidden Treasures post. I read the description and Lisa’s praise of it and immediately requested it from the library. When the Readathon rolled around, I figured it was the perfect time to dive in.
As previously noted, I have a soft spot for chimpanzees and the like. Especially those that can communicate with humans. While Ape House recently left me a little disappointed, this one did not.
I loved Joey. I felt for her and her isolation. I enjoyed watching her grow as life’s possibilities were presented to her. Her friendship with Charlie was touching and her love for Sukari relentless.
This book made me laugh but it also made me cry sob. There are some tough realities that Joey must face and there are things in this book about our world we’d rather not see. I am not going to rant or lecture here because I know I’ve done it in the past but I do think it’s important to read books like this: books that force us to look at the things we do to animals and nature.
This story will give you hope. I recommend it for that reason although I realize the subject matter may not appeal to everyone like it does to me.