Show me a Sign

A riveting Own Voices story inspired by the true history of a deaf community.

In a tight-knit deaf community in Martha’s Vineyard, things are starting to change for the first time in hundreds of years. As a death shatters Mary Lambert’s family, tensions over land disputes between the settled and native people are mounting. And meanwhile, a scientist bent on finding the origin of the island’s prevalent deafness soon renders Mary a “specimen” in his cruel experiment. This is a poignant novel that probes our perceptions of ability.

Mary Lambert has always felt safe and protected on her beloved island of Martha’s Vineyard. Her great-great-grandfather was an early English settler and the first deaf islander. Now, over a hundred years later, many people there – including Mary – are deaf, and nearly everyone can communicate in sign language. Mary has never felt isolated. She is proud of her lineage.

But recent events have delivered winds of change. Mary’s brother died, leaving her family shattered. Tensions over land disputes are mounting between English settlers and the Wampanoag people. And a cunning young scientist has arrived, hoping to discover the origin of the island’s prevalent deafness. His maniacal drive to find answers soon renders Mary a «live specimen» in a cruel experiment. Her struggle to save herself is at the core of this penetrating and poignant novel that probes our perceptions of ability and disability. It will make you forever question your own ideas about what is normal.