But You Look So Normal:

Lost and Found in a Hearing World

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Gold Medal for Best First Book – Non-Fiction by IPPY (Independent Publisher Book Awards)

A fascinating, beautifully written memoir about a woman determined to carve out a fulfilling life for herself.

Library Journal, starred review

Marseille is a clear, expressive writer . . . this is an elegantly written memoir that raises awareness and will empower others.

Kirkus Reviews

By age four, I had hardly uttered a word. Finally, my parents had my hearing tested and learned I had a severe hearing loss. They chose to mainstream me, hoping this would offer her the most “normal” childhood possible. With the help of a primitive hearing aid, I worked hard to learn to hear, lipread, and speak, but I tried to hide my disability in order to fit in. While considered largely successful in the oral approach I paid a significant price: an absence of a sense of community; difficulties in understanding others; and perhaps worst of all, frequent isolation. I didn’t meet other hard of hearing or deaf people until I was in my mid-thirties. I was quite alone with my hearing loss. As a result, I was often misunderstood, lonely, and isolated—fitting into neither the hearing world nor the Deaf culture.

My memoir also explores my relationships with my German refugee parents—a disturbed, psychoanalyst father obsessed over various harebrained projects and moneymaking schemes and a Jewish mother who had survived the Holocaust in Munich. I share how I emerged from loneliness and social isolation, explored my Jewish identity, struggled to find a career compatible with hearing loss, and eventually opened myself to a life of creativity and love.

“But You Look So Normal” is the inspiring story of a life affected but not defined by an invisible disability. It is a journey through family, loss, shame, identity, love, and healing as I finally, joyfully, find my place in the world.

“A triumphant, encouraging story for those who have faced the challenges of living with a disability and an eye-opening read for those who have not. It is a heart-rending story but also an account of fortitude and success.”