Jordan, Sherryl. The Raging Quiet. Simon & Schuster, 1999. ISBN 0-689-82140-9. $17.00. 266 pp. A 9+ FI Reviewed by Janice Card When Marnie’s father becomes incapacitated by an attack of palsy and can no longer work the farm, her family is likely to lose their home and their livelihood. But Isak Isherwood, second son of the lord of the land, tells them they may remain on the farm. In exchange for his generosity, Marnie must become his wife. He is a lord; she is a peasant. He is as old as her father and is a widower with three grown children. Marnie is an inexperienced teen who neither knows or loves him. To save her family she agrees to become Isak’s wife. Isherwood takes his bride to Torcurra, a remote fishing village, where they will begin their life together. An accident makes Marnie a widow after only a few days of marriage. So begins a tale that is captivating and powerful. Marnie chooses to remain in the cottage, with only the village priest as a friend. The superstitious town folk suspect she is a witch who caused her husband’s untimely death. She alienates herself further from the locals when she befriends Raver, the mad boy who cannot hear or speak. They develop a sign language so that they can communicate. This story shows the damage caused by prejudice and ignorance, and the good that comes from love, friendship, and trust. The Raging Quiet is a book for mature readers (although it could be read by sixth graders). It deals occasionally with sex, although not graphically; it is not thrown in to titillate, but is an important part of the story being told. Jordan worked for several years with profoundly deaf children and spoke to them by signing. She understands the frustrations, joys, despair, and triumphs that come from communicating with the deaf. She tells her tale beautifully. Marnie and Raver are rich characters who step off the pages into the heart.
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