- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 3673 KB
- Print Length: 244 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Evolved Publishing LLC; 1 edition (13 January 2013)
- Sold by: Amazon Asia-Pacific Holdings Private Limited
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00B0PZ0WW
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 50 customer ratings
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Hannah's Voice Kindle Edition
About the Author
EDITOR: Lane Diamond has over 120 published books to his editing credit, including many multiple award-winners, across many genres and styles. --This text refers to the paperback edition.
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Top international reviews
There's good and less good in this book. Some of the characters are incredibly well drawn and compelling - even when I was cross with what they did I still cared what happened to them. Some (by no means all) of the peripheral characters were a bit thin, but that's being a bit picky. The last few chapters did feel a little rushed, and a few things were just stated and not explained - yet it all came to a good clean end and the last scene was lovely.
The real triumph of this book wasn't the portrayal of religious people, either the nasty or the nice kind. It wasn't the fact that the protagonist doesn't speak at all during most of the story. It wasn't even the fact that much of the story could be seen as a metaphor for the religious misunderstandings that plague the world today.
It's that the author speaks with the voice of a six-year-old girl, bewildered by the contradictions and confusions forced upon her by the world of adults, who want her to be grown-up and responsible at the same time as being innocent and childish. The voice of an adolescent, who knows that life has thrown her some challenges, and has found a path through with the help of some good people. The voice of a young woman who has to face the fact that the monsters of her childhood, long locked away in the darkest of memories, are coming back to haunt her. That's the triumph.
The beginning of the book is set when Hannah is a six-year-old child. We immediate deduce that Hannah is really a brilliant girl, but is surrounded by many adults who don't take her seriously. They can't comprehend her maturity. Maybe because I have a daughter who is six (and also one named Hannah!) I cried even before the end of the first chapter and continued through most of the book. I wanted to shake the adults for misunderstanding her and treating her wrongly. But it also made me appreciate characters such as her father (in flashback appearances) and Brother Ronnie, the only ones sane enough to understand her and comfort her. Later, she is able to find this same comfort in Daniel, another mistreated youth.
Looking at mental illness (or selfishness) from the perspective of a child was humbling. It made me look at myself and realize that sometimes I don't give my own kids enough credit for knowing what they know. Adults can be so wrapped up in ourselves, we don't see the rapid growth in the spirits of our children.
As the book processed, we find many more characters in Hannah's life that also range from the self-centered ones who need her only to use her and exploit her selective mutism to benefit their own causes, to others not completely accepted by society who seem to accept her for who she is and see the normalcy in her. Hannah, of course, clings to the latter, while not always hiding from the former.
When I began the book and saw how much fundamental Christianity was involved, I was excited as a Christian to see how religion affected Hannah's life. Many of her religious leaders as a child completely let her down. A Christian needs to read this with an open mind, more as a reminder of how we shepherd children in Christ's love, like Brother Ronnie, rather than the others who did not see the person of Hannah at all. It was a reminder to focus on the importance of individuals over what may be perceived as "the great good." I would also like to note that Biblical references in the book were very accurate.
Another note to Christians who might read this work, there are several instances of vulgar language. It made me blush, but it contributed to the reality of the circumstance which Hannah faced. A reminder of the world we are in and need to face, even when we want to put our head in the sand.
Bravo to this author for an excellent work.
It's quite a feat to tell a story in the first person point of view of a character who doesn't speak. The author not only accomplishes this in a believable and engaging manner, but also shows us three different Hannah's: the intelligent but traumatized six-year-old girl; the blossoming teen; and the young woman who finally comes to terms with the absurdity of the world around her.
The book occasionally skirts the ragged edge of social commentary and political satire by highlighting the irrationality of extremes on all sides. But the author never climbs so high on his soap box that it interferes with the story.
The success of this fine novel rests on the marvelous character of Hannah. I became attached to her in the first few pages and continued to root for her all the way through to the end.
I had the pleasure of reading an early manuscript of Hannah's Voice, and it deeply affected me then. Through the rewriting and editing process, it has truly been transformed into a searingly memorable story and will stay with the reader long after the novel is put down.
Ms. Kauten's review contains a fine statement of the novel's plot. The primary theme is wonderfully clever - the indelible importance of truth to one little girl, and the parodic impulse of zealous adults to defined the meaning of her silence to their own ends. In no other literary work have I ever witnessed a more eloquent example of the gravity of one's silence.
Grindstaff's prose is unadorned, deft, carefully constructed - but I think what sets this novel apart is its humor. Grindstaff has a knack for portraying the drama of Hannah's dilemma in a way that makes you giggle.
Congratulations to Robb for the release of this wonderful novel. I wish him the best.
Hannah is different from the other children in her community: with a father who lost a long battle with cancer and a mother who's ability to cope with the world was tenuous at best, this child grew up far too fast. She was a clever and artistic child, not comfortable with the company of other children, preferring to draw and take care of her mother to being singled out at school for her skills.
Like all children, Hannah has a singular thread of reasoning: if adults won't believe me when I tell the truth, for she always did, and their reactions cause trouble when I speak: then speaking is something I should not do to not be `trouble'. As her silence becomes more noticeable, the community becomes alarmed, and the more fundamentalist members of the church start to take action.
Hannah is always silent but never without her own thoughts and opinions, her confusion, anger and sense of unjustly being used by those who should have known better: from the self-proclaimed Christian community, to the media to an "occupy wall street" type group founded by a trust-fund baby in an obvious in-your-face to her parents. The notoriety does little but bring danger to Hannah's door: fearful people are dangerous people, fearful fanatics are deadly.
What sits at the core of this story is Hannah's commitment to truth: and we see all of the variations and manipulations that are used to spin a belief into the "truth" that all should see from the other characters she encounters. Mixing religion, media and politics in a manner that feels very now and far-reaching , yet is wholly specific to the story of Hannah, Grindstaff has penned a novel that works on several levels to expose the fallacies in the "true story" and the way that belief is manipulated and influenced by belief, dogma and even a need for power.
There are no extras added to this story: each phase of Hannah's life is solidly voiced and appropriate for her age, showing small changes in perspective without losing the core of the child we first met. There is nothing added for effect: this is a beautiful story that will stir emotions and thoughts as you read, and will stay with you long after the last page.
I purchased a copy of this title for my own library. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
The larger concepts of sincerity and hypocrisy, of mainipulation and exploitation, of misinterpretation and purposeful misrepresentation for personal gain, all issues far too common in our society today, are dealt with so subtly and so deftly leaving the reader to form his or her own opinions.....it is a novel I will be pondering for a long LONG time!
Six-year-old Hannah stops talking when her honesty is questioned. People in her fundamentalist church either think she's possessed by the devil, or god-like. Flash forward ten years, she's in a foster home and an act of bravery thrusts her into the national spotlight. All Hannah wants to do is find her mother, who she hasn't lived with since age six.
There's lots to like about HANNAH'S VOICE. The beginning chapters sound like a six-year-old would think. Unfortunately, the writer didn't do as well capturing Hannah's young adult voice. The plot was at best, unrealistic, at worst, contrived. Only one of the fundamentalists is portrayed as remotely sane, the others want to exorcize or canonize her. Even Hannah's character is a bit one dimensional.
While this isn't a religious book, there is a lot of prayer and religion in parts of the book. HANNAH'S VOICE isn't particularly preachy, at times Hannah's observations are comical. This slightly better than average novel didn't make me think, as it could have if better executed.
Abstracting some of my commentary on one of the reviews: The mutism is a powerful symbol of how, when thoughts arise that are counter the "wisdom" of the culture, we are in any number of ways compelled to be silent. How often are folks, especially children, told (even commanded) to be silent and invisible when they dare question this conventional "wisdom?" The author's description of the cultural powers in the small towns and counties of the deep south as formed and sustained by fundamentalist Christian beliefs is not fiction. It is so accurate as to cause pain; and to make those at its mercy fear speaking. I admit I momentarily sought out soft euphemisms to describe the raw primitive forces of superstitious fear and hate that destroyed those only adults who loved and defended the child Hannah.
I admire the tactic of a third person point of view, with the actor essentially passive because it reinforces understanding of the power of those bizarre passion filled projections and where they came from.
Hannah is an interesting and charming character but this is not about her nature. It is about the nature of the culture she has been set down in.
I am a sucker for strong female protagonists, from Lisbeth Salander all the way back to Jane Eyre, and even further. Hannah joins this elite club of kick-ass female characters, women who have strong voices, independent and feisty personalities, and basically take no prisoners.
Not that Hannah is a martial arts Goth with attitude. Far from it. When we meet her she is a young girl in a southern town, being raised by a devoutly Christian mother shortly after her beloved father has passed away. I'm not going to spoil the plot, except to say that a series of events causes her to decide to stop talking, with repercussions that play themselves out after about a decade.
Grindstaff has created a vulnerable, wise, caring, and thoughtful heroine, one who inadvertently finds herself at the center of a raging national debate over religion and politics. She handles her situation with grace and courage, and the plot, which unfolds with great dexterity, brings us to a satisfying conclusion. Grindstaff's writing is nuanced and subtle, and serves his purposes to a tee.
Ten years later, and a country is at war over her voicelessness, ascribing to it their own agendas and significance, while she works to rebuild her life and enter adulthood.
Beautifully written with compelling prose, vivid characterization and a gripping story that had me reading this book in one sitting, Hannah's Voice is a solid 5-star and well worth the read. Hannah's journey is heartbreaking and uplifting, and I enjoyed 'hearing' her story, as she watched the world in silence. I look forward to more from this amazing author.
Grindstaff expertly conveys his views of the world through a well-written and realistic story. No ramming his messages down your throat - and for that reason, this story works on so many levels.
With Hannah, he has created a character who is different and charming. You'll remember her; you'll wish you could meet her in real life.
This is an important book, and well worth reading. If you're looking for books that are well written and professionally presented, with stories that draw you in and keep you involved, you can't do much better than HANNAH'S VOICE.
I will definitely buy more of this author's work.
If you want to be entertained and have some fun reading a novel, then "Hannah's Voice" should satisfy your needs, it did for me. And to show that I was entertained well enough, I'm on the lookout of more of Robb Grendstaff's writing.
I would have given this novel a rating of 5, but then what would I rate for a Pulitzer novel? I've often wondered about the way the rating scale works for some people. But, hey, I'm just a reader, not a reviewer.
This book was deep, beautiful, and it left me feeling as though Hannah would forever be a part of my life. The conclusion is not easy or rushed. The ending left me with a sense of satisfaction mixed with bittersweet emotions for all that Hannah faced in her young life.
My hope is that this book will be discovered and possibly made into a screenplay in the future. I encourage you to treat yourself to a copy of Hannah's Voice. You'll thank me.