In Hurt Go Happy 13-year old Joey Willis lives with her 4-year-old brother and her over-protective divorced mother and her mother's new husband in rural California. Deaf since six, Joey's mother fears that her daughter would be ostracized by her "difference" if she learned sign language. Mom doesn't understand how difficult lip-reading can be but fully understands that the worst punishment she can give her daughter is to turn away her face so that Joey can't read either her lips or her expression. Consequently, during this difficult first teenage year, Joey feels isolated from both her family and her peers. Then, a chance meeting with a retired anthropologist and his baby chimp that he has taught to sign occurs. So Joey secretly begins to learn sign to talk with her new friends. When her mother discovers Joey's new skill and her new friends, she takes a long time to see the reality & repercussions of her denial of Joey's communication handicap. That much of a story would be sufficient for most books, but when Joey's love for the chimp prompts her to rescue the animal from a chemical laboratory's animal testing site this takes on a 'Free Willy' flavor. Thankfully, the author never stoops to preaching animal rights--just animal conservation and rescue. Marketed as a children's book, any age would find this a gripping and heart-wrenching story.
Submitted by Leah @ Wisconsin Talking Book & Braille Library