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Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law by Haben Girma Book Review

Reasons For Reading This Book:

One of my favorite book Instagram accounts to follow and take recommendations from is @halpreads. Emily Halp runs this amazing account. Whenever I am looking for a new book to read I turn to her account for recommendations. While on her account I came across her 5 star review of Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law by Haben Girma. One of my preferred genres of books is nonfiction memoirs. As someone who has personally dealt with disability discrimination, I was so excited to read this book and both relate to her struggles and learn more as we have very different disabilities.

Content of This Book:

Haben Girma was born deaf-blind to two immigrants from Eritrean and Ethiopia. She grew up with enough vision to see when someone was in front of her and enough hearing to hear when someone close to her was talking. What challenged her was reading facial expressions and distinguishing people in group conversations. From a young age, Haben never let her disability get in the way of what she wanted. Her determination to explore the world led her to building a school in Mali and climbing an iceberg in Alaska. Through her own problem-solving skills, Haben overcame the roadblocks put in her way while obtaining her undergraduate degree and eventual law degree. Haben told her story in a funny, uplifting, captivating and warming way. 

What I Liked About This Book:

I loved how descriptive Haben was with everything. Her ability to depict details through her personal experiences of touching, limited hearing, and limited sight gave the reader a complete image and sensation of what she was experiencing each time she described something. Haben was able to successfully weave together her motivational and inspiration motivates into all parts of her retelling of her life. She did this through self-reflection and inner thoughts for how she would overcome a struggle. Haben was able to provide the reader with recommendations for appropriate interactions for how those without disabilities should approach and interact with those who have disabilities. There was no sense of preaching or condemning. Anytime Haben experiences discrimination she problem-solved her way to a solution by teaching those around her how to accommedate her and her needs. She never accused anyone and instead thought of each moment as a way for both parties to learn and grow. I really enjoyed reading about her experience in Louisiana and the ways that she learned to navigate in a world that is not designed for someone who is deaf-blind. Every time I picked up this book to read it, it felt as though I was listening to someone recount their experiences. The writing was conversational yet literary. After the first few chapters I was able to get into the rhythm of her writing and truly appreciated how well it was written. I could go on and on about how much I loved this book, but I will finish off by saying thank you Haben for giving a voice to us with disabilities without making us the victims.

What I Disliked About This Book:

My least favorite part of the book was the recounting of her summer’s in Asmara, Eritrean. Since reflecting on this opinion I believe it was because it was at the beginning of the book and so much new information was dumped onto the reader all at once. Haben was describing the history of the country, her families’ immigration story, the food, and introducing all of her family members at one time. There was so much to comprehend right from the start that it felt overwhelming and intimidating. While reading and after finishing I have come to appreciate the importance of these early chapters but wish they were written at a slower pace.

Would I Recommend This Book?

This is one of my favorite books I have read so far this year and ranks even higher on the list of memoirs that I have read. I have to give another shout-out to @halpreads for the recommendation because I would not have discovered or read this book without her. The last thing I will say is go get this book now and read it immediately!!

Check out my book reviews for 2023!!

Horse by Geraldine Brooks  
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger
Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
Hester by Laurie Pico Albanese
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
Environmental and Sustainability Book Reviews 2022
Self-Improvement Book Reviews 2022
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Know My Name by Chanel Miller
The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
Not All Diamonds and Rosé by Dave Quinn
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Golden Girl by Elin Hilderbrand
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton
A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham 
Girls With Bright Futures by Tracy Dobmeier and Wendy Katzman
Run, Rose, Run by James Patterson and Dolly Parton
The Summer Series by Jenny Han
A Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Dugard
The Housewives: The Real Story Behind the Real Housewives by Brian Moylan
Verity by Colleen Hoover
All Rhodes Lead Here by Mariana Zapata
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Our Country Friends by Gary Shteyngart 
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Majesty: American Royals 2 by Kathrine McGree
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Check out my book reviews for 2021!!

2021 Book Rankings

Beach Read By Emily Henry
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Educated by Tara Westover
The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig 
The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins 
We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins 
We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Klara and the Sun 
The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner
American Duchess by Karen Harper 
Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters
Girl With No Job by Claudia Oshry
Down the Habit Hole by Holly Madison Book Review
My Story by Elizabeth Smart
Layla by Colleen Hoover

Check out my book reviews for 2020!!

Check out my book reviews for 2019!!

Check out my book reviews from 2018!!

Don't forget to stay up to date on my blog by following my social media accounts!
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