When six-year-old Hannah’s brutal honesty is mistaken for lying, she stops speaking. Her family, her community, and eventually the entire nation, struggle to find meaning in her silence. All she wants is to find her momma, a little peace and quiet, and maybe some pancakes.
Hidden in protective foster care for twelve years, Hannah loses all contact with her mother and remains mute by choice. When she leaves foster care at age eighteen to search for her momma, a national debate rages over her silence. One word would put an end to the chaos... if only Hannah can find her voice.
WINNER: Pinnacle Book Achievement Award - Best Fiction
From Michelle L. Johnson: “This book is so well written and Hannah is so compelling, her voice lingers in my mind long after I have finished reading. If Hannah’s Voice doesn’t end up on the bestseller’s list, on every notable list... I will be shocked. I will definitely keep my eyes open for more from Robb Grindstaff!”
From Naomi Sarah: “Hannah’s Voice is a beautiful story, and I’m going to tell you about it, but before I do: seriously, you guys, read it. I’m not kidding. You’ll be changed forever, inside... it’s not a book with such strong thematic material that it will make anyone cringe, but it will be burned into your brain for eternity in such a delightful way. Touching, moving, funny, awesome. I can’t say it enough: this book is revolutionary, and the best thing I’ve read in years.”
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“Hannah’s Voice is a poignant coming of age tale about a girl who was forcibly ripped away from her home and her mother when she was a small child. The story follows her through to adulthood as she seeks answers to this tumultuous beginning and searches for her lost mother. Robb Grindstaff writes a surprisingly strong female protagonist with plenty of complexity, tenacity, and faith in God and family, without being overly political or religious, despite the religious and political roots of the story. Throughout, the author does a good job of examining different sides and all the grey areas and taking a neutral stance in between the political and religious upheaval that surrounds the protagonist for the duration of the book.
“From an early point in this story, Hannah is forced to deal with death and suspicion. As a six-year-old, she has to deal with the recent death of her father, and as the beginning unfolds, she is closely related to the deaths of her classmate and her father’s best friend. She is also forced to deal with her mother’s faulty memory and aggravating repetition. The loss of these things that are dear to her and the accusations against her involving the classmate’s death play a part in her decision to stop speaking. Through the exchanges with her teacher, the principal, the school counselor, and her Sunday school instructor, Hannah begins to feel bullied and misunderstood.
“The feelings of being misunderstood and unheard are powerful ones and feelings that many people can relate to. One thing about Hannah’s voluntary muteness that was bothersome throughout the book was that no one seemed to have bothered to teach her sign language, and even when she has a deaf roommate, even though the roommate can read lips and speak, no sign language is used and is hardly even mentioned.
“Although Hannah takes it to a new level, the psychological impact of grief and trauma are discussed reasonably in this novel. Her silence invokes the attention of two different groups of people: the radical religious nutcases and the radical political ones. While these two communities clash heads over the reason Hannah doesn’t speak, Hannah takes solace in the comfort of her friends, and they heroically defend her right to live her life as she pleases.
“Overall, Grindstaff does a fantastic job with inclusivity and the importance of family and diversity. He captures the emotional turmoil of the foster system and being bounced from one family to the next, all the while clinging to the hope that Hannah’s mother is out there somewhere, waiting for that joyous reunion.”
“I had the pleasure of reading an early manuscript of Hannah’s Voice, and it deeply affected me then. Through the rewriting and editing process, it has truly been transformed into a searingly memorable story and will stay with the reader long after the novel is put down. Ms. Kauten’s review contains a fine statement of the novel’s plot. The primary theme is wonderfully clever—the indelible importance of truth to one little girl, and the parodic impulse of zealous adults to defined the meaning of her silence to their own ends. In no other literary work have I ever witnessed a more eloquent example of the gravity of one’s silence. Grindstaff’s prose is unadorned, deft, carefully constructed—but I think what sets this novel apart is its humor. Grindstaff has a knack for portraying the drama of Hannah’s dilemma in a way that makes you giggle.”
“I am a sucker for strong female protagonists, from Lisbeth Salander all the way back to Jane Eyre, and even further. Hannah joins this elite club of kick-ass female characters, women who have strong voices, independent and feisty personalities, and basically take no prisoners. Not that Hannah is a martial arts Goth with attitude. Far from it. When we meet her she is a young girl in a southern town, being raised by a devoutly Christian mother shortly after her beloved father has passed away. I’m not going to spoil the plot, except to say that a series of events causes her to decide to stop talking, with repercussions that play themselves out after about a decade. Grindstaff has created a vulnerable, wise, caring, and thoughtful heroine, one who inadvertently finds herself at the center of a raging national debate over religion and politics. She handles her situation with grace and courage, and the plot, which unfolds with great dexterity, brings us to a satisfying conclusion. Grindstaff’s writing is nuanced and subtle, and serves his purposes to a tee.”