NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A heartfelt and inspiring memoir and celebration of Deaf culture by Nyle DiMarco, actor, producer, two-time reality show winner, and cultural icon of the international Deaf community
Before becoming the actor, producer, advocate, and model that people know today, Nyle DiMarco was half of a pair of Deaf twins born to a multi-generational Deaf family in Queens, New York. At the hospital one day after he was born, Nyle “failed” his first test—a hearing test—to the joy and excitement of his parents.
In this engrossing memoir, Nyle shares stories, both heartbreaking and humorous, of what it means to navigate a world built for hearing people. From growing up in a rough-and-tumble childhood in Queens with his big and loving Italian-American family to where he is now, Nyle has always been driven to explore beyond the boundaries given him. A college math major and athlete at Gallaudet—the famed university for the Deaf in Washington, DC—Nyle was drawn as a young man to acting, and dove headfirst into the reality show competitions America’s Next Top Model and Dancing with the Stars—ultimately winning both competitions.
Deaf Utopia is more than a memoir, it is a cultural anthem—a proud and defiant song of Deaf culture and a love letter to American Sign Language, Nyle’s primary language. Through his stories and those of his Deaf brothers, parents, and grandparents, Nyle opens many windows into the Deaf experience.
Deaf Utopia is intimate, suspenseful, hilarious, eye-opening, and smart—both a memoir and a celebration of what makes Deaf culture unique and beautiful.
Activist and model DiMarco debuts with an immensely inspiring story of the experiences, people, and culture that made him "the proud Deaf man I am today." Expertly weaving in seminal moments from Deaf history, DiMarco paints a vibrant picture of his 1990s childhood growing up in a multigenerational Deaf home; recounts his journey to "coming out my way"; and passionately details his work to improve Deaf representation in media. Along the way, he immerses readers in the rich dialogue of American sign language, rendering conversations in ASL gloss (a typed approximation of ASL using all caps) as a way to effectively "recapture some of lost magic" of translating his native language to the page. As DiMarco explains, while he was "born into a world in which... sign languages generally recognized... languages," that wasn't always so his mother and grandmother, for instance, were forbidden from using ASL at their schools (until it was legitimized in the 1960s, he writes, signing was widely dismissed as "pantomime"). After modeling in college, DiMarco went on to compete in and win America's Next Top Model, an achievement he used later to prove "just how damn cool it is to be Deaf" by securing a deal with Netflix that would feature Deaf talent both on screen and behind the camera. This exuberant account isn't to be missed.
Very well done
Loved the history, insight and explanation of the Deaf experience. Nyle wove his story into a thought provoking masterpiece! Can’t wait to share exerts with my students!
Such an amazing book. It was hard to put down. I loved getting to know more about the Deaf community. Highly recommend!!