Book review by Aarene Storms: Five Flavors of Dumb

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

By Aarene Storms, Youth Services Librarian
Richmond Beach Library, KCLS

"Five Flavors of Dumb"  by Antony John
Piper is a high school senior in Seattle who just might be the best possible manager for the rock band called "Dumb". After all, Piper is deaf, and can't hear how bad the band sounds. Besides, since her parents dipped into Piper's college funds to pay for cochlear implants for her baby sister, Piper needs money.

Piper's business savvy is the real key to success for Dumb: she recognizes their strengths, and helps them to strengthen their weaknesses. However, Piper's savvy stops at "business"; she is remarkably dense when it comes to recognizing that one of the musicians loves her.

Piper is not a "deaf character"; instead, she is a terrific character with strong opinions, a terrific sense of sarcastic humor (she names her terrible old car the USS Immovable), a deep connection to her family, and a connection to deaf society that may be new territory for many readers. The Seattle setting is integral to the plot, as Piper and Dumb chase around the city in search of the musical history of rock and roll icons Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain.

Extra stars are awarded for the author's note acknowledging the definitive biographies of Hendrix and Cobain written by Richmond Beach resident Charles R. Cross.

Highly recommended for readers ages 14 and up. The narrative contains references to the rock-and-roll drug/alcohol culture, but there is no on-page drug use or sexual situations. The romance is sweet and satisfying.
The events may not have happened; still, the story is true. --R. Silvern


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