Author Alan Balter is a retired university professor. In an email message to me in November 2014, he writes:
I wrote Different Ways of Being with mature young adults and new adults in mind, although I believe the characters and plot are fully realistic and will be enjoyed by older readers as well... The protagonist is a young man, Deaf of Deaf, who attends Gallaudet University, and through his character, readers learn about essential elements of Deaf Culture, including American Sign Language and residential schooling.
I received the book over a month ago and am looking forward to reading it and interviewing the author. For now, here is a description.
From Linkville Press: For Willa and Robert, it’s a quiet time. The sky takes on a greenish hue, and great bolts of lightning zigzag overhead. The rumble of thunder vibrates through the floor, and trees bend against the wind. Hailstones, some the size of marbles, pepper the windows and fracture on the driveway and sidewalks. Shutters flap against the siding. Soon, the street is littered with tree branches, roofing shingles, and assorted trash. A riderless tricycle blows by in odd concert with a trash can and a soccer ball. The noise is considerable, but for Willa and Robert, it’s a quiet time. It’s always a quiet time. So begins Different Ways of Being, Alan Balter’s strong and sensitive novel about people who are Deaf. Willa and Robert are congenitally deaf and members of the Deaf Culture. They communicate with American Sign Language and prefer to socialize with other Deaf rather than interact with people who hear. For them, deafness is not a disability; thus, they don’t want to hear any more than hearing people want to be deaf. They consider marriages between deaf and hearing people to be “mixed marriages” that are destined to fail. So strong are the beliefs of members of the Deaf Culture that many would choose to abort a pregnancy rather than have a hearing child.