Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

Published November 2010 by Dial
338 pages
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Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Bought @ Half-Price Books
Rating: LOVED IT

The Challenge: Piper has one month to get the rock band Dumb a paying gig.

The Deal: If she does it, Piper will become the band’s manager and get her share of the profits.

The Catch: How can Piper possibly manage one egomaniacal pretty boy, one talentless piece of eye candy, one crush, one silent rocker, and one angry girl? And how can she do it when she’s deaf?

Piper can’t hear Dumb’s music, but with growing self-confidence, a budding romance, and a new understanding of the decision her family made to buy a cochlear implant for her deaf baby sister, she discovers her own inner rock star and what it truly means to be a flavor of Dumb. (Source: Goodreads)

I picked up this book not knowing anything about it. I liked the title and the cover. I’m shallow like that sometimes. It is how I pick wine and horses too. At the least, I thought it was about a band, but it isn’t. It is about a deaf girl and how music can heal.

Piper is our main character and has a great voice. She has plenty reasons to be down. She is deaf and her parents have raided her college fund to get her baby sister, Grace, a cochlear implant. Not only are her future dreams possibly in the toilet, it exposes the negative view of her parents toward her handicap. Now she will be the only non-hearing person in the family. She couldn’t be fixed and her father has never even taken the time to learn sign-language. Despite plenty of reasons to have a pity party, Piper is strong, smart and funny.

Even though Piper is confident, she still remains hidden. Is she hiding from people? Or are they just not seeing her? Well that is all about to change. She becomes the manager of a indie-garage band named Dumb. She has to rely on her good friend, Ed, with the sound aspects. But she jumps right into launching them onto the music scene. There are success and epic failures, but there is a real learning curve to the business. She does find herself a few unlikely mentors along the way.

The beauty is the journey. Piper’s secret mentor sends her on a quest: to find the roots of some of the most famous Seattle musicians ever. Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix. Here she finds pain, poverty and tragedy. She is amazed at how music came out of such circumstances. Soul-wrenching and soul-uplifting. Piper starts to see her world through different lenses. Most of all she is able to look at herself. The spirit of music (because she can’t really hear it, like we do) gives her the courage to voice her anger and frustration and for once, stand out.

Music can strip away everything and expose the soul of a person. Music can heal.

Live in the moment.

Every once in a while, I find a book that has beautiful life lessons. We are always telling our daughter to “be in the present.” Usually we are telling her this, so she’ll pay attention to what she is doing. But this is a philosophy that we try to live by. Appreciate every moment we have with our daughter, because she is growing up way too fast. Also to appreciate what we have right now and not worry about the Jones.

…you’re worrying about the wrong thing. Don’t worry about wanting to change anymore; start worrying when you don’t feel like changing anymore. And in the meantime, enjoy every version of yourself you ever meet, because not everybody who discovers their true identity likes what they find.

So true, yet I never thought about it quite this way. When you can’t or won’t change, that is when the rut gets deeper and the feeling of despair creeps in. Also being a kid or young adult is figuring out who you are going to be. Learn from your mistakes and improve upon your wins. Great advice for adults too.

–the raw emotion, the power of a single song to change her world.

Music can do just that. WOW! I’m so glad she had that song, if it was able to be there when people weren’t.

7 responses to “Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

  1. I’ve been eyeing this one forever! So happy to see you enjoyed it. I’m not even going to lie and say it’s moving up in the TBR. The TBR is too huge. But I’m definitely going to do this one someday. Whenever I finish A Secret History and it’s denseness that is…lol

  2. I so agree with music having major healing properties. This book sounds really great!

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