Summary Of Different Ways Of Being By Alan Balter

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The novel Different Ways of Being, by Alan Balter follows the lives of an intertwining set of characters. It follows these people through a range of situations and circumstances: Seth, a Deaf student at Gallaudet, who uses a wheelchair after a tragic accident; his parents Robert and Willa, proud members of the Deaf community; Rachel and Angelo, lovers with similar troubled pasts, who have a son together; Mario, a gang member and victim of Shaken Baby Syndrome (and later a Traumatic Brain Injury) who changes Seth’s life forever with an uninformed, impulsive mistake; Sam and Miriam, a successful, well-to do couple; their son, Anthony, who begins as a promising athlete and ends up as Seth’s trusted doctor and friend; and Sarah, the daughter of Sam and Miriam, a spunky Deaf woman who comes into Seth’s life at just the right time.
My favorite character in this novel was Willa. Although her part of the book is more focused on her son, Seth, I found her a very compassionate, compelling character. The love story between her and Robert, childhood sweethearts, is beautiful. She is a strong member of the Deaf community, and advocate for a fair and ASL-based education of Deaf children. Seth describes her as an attentive and patient mother throughout her whole life, and she also
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The part that kept me guessing the most was when Seth was struggling with depression after he had been shot. It was clear that Seth was quickly spiraling downward, and I wanted to keep reading to make sure that he made it out alright. There were many times throughout this reading experience where I was almost moved to tears, either by sad circumstances such as Willa’s death, or by bittersweet moments like the scene with Mario’s surprisingly heartfelt reconciliation and Seth’s incredible
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