• Search
  • Lost Password?
Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

‘My Sister’s Voice’ by Mary Carter

‘MY SISTER’S VOICE’

What do you do when you discover your whole life was a lie?

At twenty-eight, Lacey Gears is exactly where she wants to be.  An up-and-coming, proudly Deaf artist in Philadelphia, she’s in a relationship with a wonderful man and rarely thinks about her difficult childhood in a home for disabled orphans.

That is, until Lacey receives a letter that begins, “You have a sister. A twin to be exact…” Learning her identical, hearing twin, Monica, experienced the normal childhood she was denied resurrects all of Lacey’s grief, and she angrily sets out to find Monica and her biological parents.  But the truth about Monica’s life, their brief shared past, and the reason for the twins’ separation is far from simple.  And for every one of Lacey’s questions that’s answered, others are raised, more baffling and profound.

Complex, moving, and beautifully told, My Sister’s Voice is a novel about sisterhood, love of every shape, and the stories we cling to until real life comes crashing in…

Check out those all important first lines, here

Teaser lines to tempt you a little more, here

MARY CARTER

Image Of Author Mary Carter

Mary Carter, is a graduate of both the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, both of which are part of the RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology).

She successfully earned a degree in sign language interpreting, initially spurred on by the fact that a cousin and his wife were Deaf and then for fun after becoming frustrated that the little sign language she had learnt as a child was not comprehensive enough to be able to carry on a normal conversation.

Mary is now a full time novelist and workshop leader at The Writers Loft in Chicago.

Catch up with all Mary’s latest news at her website

Follow Mary on Twitter

Like Mary’s Facebook page

Learn to tell what your story is about in one sentence. Narrow your focus. Stories have to be about something.

 …

WORDS FROM THE BOOK

I am Deaf. Not Impaired. Impaired implies something is broken and needs to be fixed. I am not broken. I do not need to be fixed.

She corrected his conception that sign language was universal, telling him that every country had its own sign language. She told him she was Deaf with a capital D, which signified a specific group of Deaf individuals, those who used American Sign Language.

Hearing people really don’t understand. It still comes down to the fact that we’re happy being Deaf and would celebrate having a Deaf child, but hearing people think deep down we still want to be fixed, we want to be like them.

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THE BOOK

‘What do you do when you discover your whole life was a lie?’

Mary Carter has placed the reader right at the heart of an intense, cleverly crafted, moving and emotional storyline, replete with plenty of twists and turns.

She has created believable, well developed, inspiring characters, who absorb you into their lives, with their complex personal challenges, that made me smile and feel a little sad, both at the same time.

I asked myself how I would feel and react, if I found out that my life as I believed it to be, was nothing but a lie? There are not only parents out there, but a sister … a twin sister … a twin sister who isn’t deaf … a twin sister who isn’t deaf and who wasn’t abandoned by their parents! … How would I react if life came crashing in on me without any warning, causing chaos and bedlam, in what until then is a difficult, often challenging, yet satisfyingly independent life?

Lacey’s reactions often appeared quite extreme and ‘off the wall’, but in retrospect were completely understandable and genuinely spontaneous.  Initial disbelief, excitement and joy, quickly turns to scepticism, shock and hurt, as the reality of the situation sinks in.

Her first thoughts and hopes of getting to know Monica and building a relationship with her, are quickly dashed when feelings of jealousy, self pity and loathing leave her feeling vulnerable and insecure.

Lacey finds herself unable to share either the material things in her life, or her mixed and jumbled emotions and feelings, with a sister whom she feels has taken her share of their parents love and attention. The need to retaliate and seek retribution for what she sees as the lost years of a family life, becomes overwhelming and she demands that Monica makes the supreme sacrifice, as some form of appeasement and catharsis.

Mary’s words paint a vivid image which is almost the complete antithesis of what I was expecting. Lacey comes across as the charismatic and fiercely independent one of the sisters, whilst Monica is the clingy and reliant twin, never quite sure enough of herself, to take that leap of faith into the unknown. It really made me wonder just which one of the girls had been left most damaged by past events!

The true facts of  the situation surrounding Lacey’s childhood, the total destructiveness of long buried family secrets and the girls ultimate separation, pile in one after the other, until they are both forced to face up to the unpalatable truth, when they must decide whether they are able to rise to the challenge of rebuilding their lives, or stay forever bitter, angry and estranged.

The whole story is emotionally charged, with several difficult and challenging issues being put forward for debate and the attention to detail is there, in all the right places. I felt myself becoming completely immersed in the girls lives and wondering whether I felt sorry for, or angry with the extended list of characters, who seem to bring such influence to bear on what is already a difficult, complex and stressful situation.

The fact that the author is a qualified and certified sign language interpreter, means that she is eminently able to offer the reader an intimate insight into the Deaf community. This she achieves with a skill that does not labour the point, but which gets the message out there, through the character of Lacey, that Deaf people are proud to be that way and do not require pity, just the chance to live as equals in a hearing community.

I really came at this book with no preconceived ideas about the storyline but having read several reviews about it, and  come away with some very mixed messages, mostly from readers worried about the content and quality of the ending.

Yes, there may have been room for some slight improvement in the length and interpretation of the final few scenes, in comparison to the in depth analysis of the earlier conversations and confrontations, although to be honest Mary could have gone on for ever, only to end up by intoducing another whole new set of questions which needed explanations and answers. I had already vaguely worked out the final twist in the plot, so was quite happy with the wrap-up pages, feeling that the quality and dedication in the writing did not diminish to any great degree.

Overall ‘My Sister’s Voice’, was an insightful, moving story, which I would not hesitate to recommend.

This book was a ‘Kindle share’ purchase by my mother-in-law, just one of the two hundred plus odd books that I have discovered in my ‘Kindle archive’, enough reading to keep me going for a while then!

Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article.

I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a book, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from reader to reader. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract a 4 out of 5.

-.-

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

View all articles
Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

6 comments
  • Wonderful post, very interesting. I’m always intrigued by disabled characters in novels and how authors portray them which combined with my fascination with twins makes this a must read.

    • Hi Tracy,

      I don’t have any history of twins in the family, although I do have friends and extended family with twins, some identical and some not. I don’t however, know of any twins where one has a disability and the other doesn’t.

      If I was the twin with the disability though, I think I would be very bitter and twisted, even more so than if I was the disabled sibling in a non twin relationship. Because twins are often portrayed as being inseparable, not to be able to do all the things a non disabled twin might, would make me both angry and upset at one and the same time, making me as volatile as Mary has portrayed Lacey in the book, which personally I think is very realistic.

      Reviews for the book have been very mixed, no matter which site I have browsed, with many being very critical of the way in which Mary has treated the individual characterisations of each twin, so it would be interesting to see what you think, should you get the opportunity to read ‘My Sister’s Voice’.

      I hope that you are enjoying your weekend and that the bad weather didn’t make it down as far as you 🙂

  • This sounds like an emotionally charged story, one that might work well for discussion in a book club. I’ll certainly keep it in mind for that.

    While I knew there were several versions of sign language, I didn’t know that capitalizing the D in deaf signified a user of ASL. Interesting!

    • Hi Kelly,

      Whilst I did take a few minutes to check out the information the author dropped into the storyline about the ASL, it wasn’t until you picked up on that element as a feature of the storyline, that I did a more detailed search.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Sign_Language

      Even more interestingly, it looks as though, whilst we in the US and UK might share a common spoken English, the ASL and BSL (British Sign Language) are very different, which must surely be very confusing?

      I agree with you, that ‘My Sister’s Voice’ would probably be quite a good story for a bookclub read. The book raised several questions in my mind, not least the very emotionally driven ones of loss and belonging and which one of the twins really showed through as needing the most help and support and was the most emotionally unstable, following the discovery of their hitherto unknown sibling.

      As reviews and ratings for the book have been so very mixed, the objectivity of a group discussion might prove very beneficial. 🙂

  • This sounds intriguing and unique and powerful. I don’t mind irrational behavior if there’s a reason behind it which there definitely is in Mary’s case. That’s an enormous betrayal and it’s very easy to see how that could be crushing and life altering. I do like that the author has significant experience with the deaf community. Thanks for sharing and for the great review!

    • Hi Katherine,

      Thanks for the lovely words about the review, I really appreciate them 🙂

      I would really have expected Lacey to be a bit irrational about the situation, having been abandoned by parents, who as she sees it, preferred to offer a life and all their love, to her ‘hearing’ sister.

      However, I can also relate to twin Monica’s reaction, when on discovering she has a Deaf sister, can’t understand why that sister doesn’t need or want her help or advice, having had to carve a new life for herself, which Lacey has seemingly done most successfully and is totally independent.

      It was difficult to decide who needed who the most, as I did think that Monica’s behaviour was perhaps a bit too irrational.

      Mary has been criticised in some reviews for the way in which she almosts informs the reader about the Deaf community, in a way which might be a little disconnected from the story. However, for me, that only added to the storyline and encouraged me to go off and do more research of my own.

      Thanks again for taking the time to stop by and I hope you might consider reading the book 🙂

Written by Yvonne

NetGalley

2016 NetGalley Challenge Professional Reader Goodreads

Archives