Five Flavors of Dumb

>> Monday, May 9, 2011

Author: Antony John
Recommended Age: 12 and up
Publisher: Dial Books
ISBN: 978-0803734333
Year Published: 2010
No. Pages: 352
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Main Character Gender: Female
Read & Reviewed by: Emma

Piper has been deaf almost her whole life. She’s about to head off to college to a special institute for the deaf with the money she inherited from her grandparents. It’s a walk in the park until Piper’s mother has another baby girl who is born deaf. Piper becomes completely invisible while they have the new baby on their hands. Her college fund is raided for expensive hearing technology for the new baby and Piper is furious. College was to be her chance to be and more than a nonentity; Piper wants to shine.

One day at school, the band Dumb decides to put on a crazy rock concert in the middle of the schoolyard and the whole school attends, including Piper and her younger brother. Piper may be deaf but she can tell that Dumb sucks and decides to put an end to it. Piper can only become the band’s new manager if she gets them a paying gig. But how can she possibly put up the egomaniac singer Josh, his silent brother Will, the genius drummer Ed, the rythemless face of the band, Kaylie and Tash-one heck of an angry bass guitarist? 

Throughout the book Piper receives secret messages leading her to the houses of dead Seattle rock legends such as Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Kobain so she can finally understand the true meaning of music. The involvement of Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Kobain made the story even better for me because I am a music lover, making the story even more meaningful to me. The messages bring the band members closer together as they go on a historical rock journey which, in part, helps them learn not to judge one another. 

Piper’s parents are oblivious to how much Piper is hurt when they give her baby sister the ability to hear while Piper is stuck with old fashion pink hearing aids. Her father doesn’t know that just about everything he does-including the fact that he refuses to learn sign language and his bragging about the new baby- tells Piper that she might as well be labeled damaged goods. Even her mom, who lived with deaf parents, is skeptical of her ability to manage a rock band. 

Antony John captured Piper in this book amazingly. At first, she seems a bit selfish towards her baby sister but in the end it shows that like each one of us Piper is simply a human being. She’s fine with her disability and often jokes about it but at times, she loses her cool because of it. 

I loved this book and would definitely choose it as my favourite book of all time. The content was relatable because I am a member of a rock band and know that it’s difficult for everyone to get along. I loved all the characters because they were so different from one another. There were many feuds as well as random breakouts of emotion similar to many of the teenagers I know. I would give this book a ten out of ten because its flavours fit my taste.

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