Burn Down the Ground: A Memoir

Burn Down the Ground: A Memoir

4.4 32
by Kambri Crews
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0345516028

ISBN-13: 2900345516021

Pub. Date: 02/28/2012

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

In this powerful, affecting, and unflinching memoir, a daughter looks back on her unconventional childhood with deaf parents in rural Texas while trying to reconcile it to her present life—one in which her father is serving a twenty-year sentence in a maximum-security prison.
 
As a child, Kambri Crews wished that she’d been born deaf so that

Overview

In this powerful, affecting, and unflinching memoir, a daughter looks back on her unconventional childhood with deaf parents in rural Texas while trying to reconcile it to her present life—one in which her father is serving a twenty-year sentence in a maximum-security prison.
 
As a child, Kambri Crews wished that she’d been born deaf so that she, too, could fully belong to the tight-knit Deaf community that embraced her parents. Her beautiful mother was a saint who would swiftly correct anyone’s notion that deaf equaled dumb. Her handsome father, on the other hand, was more likely to be found hanging out with the sinners. Strong, gregarious, and hardworking, he managed to turn a wild plot of land into a family homestead complete with running water and electricity. To Kambri, he was Daniel Boone, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ben Franklin, and Elvis Presley all rolled into one.
 
But if Kambri’s dad was Superman, then the hearing world was his kryptonite. The isolation that accompanied his deafness unlocked a fierce temper—a rage that a teenage Kambri witnessed when he attacked her mother, and that culminated fourteen years later in his conviction for another violent crime. 
 
With a smart mix of brutal honesty and blunt humor, Kambri Crews explores her complicated bond with her father—which begins with adoration, moves to fear, and finally arrives at understanding—as she tries to forge a new connection between them while he lives behind bars. Burn Down the Ground is a brilliant portrait of living in two worlds—one hearing, the other deaf; one under the laid-back Texas sun, the other within the energetic pulse of New York City; one mired in violence, the other rife with possibility—and heralds the arrival of a captivating new voice.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2900345516021
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/28/2012
Edition description:
NE
Pages:
352

Table of Contents

Prologue xi

Boars Head, 1978-1986

Chapter 1 Kingpin 3

Chapter 2 Montgomery Hillbillies 16

Chapter 3 You're the One That I Want (Oooh, Oooh, Oooh) 40

Chapter 4 The Man of Steel 56

Chapter 5 Half Baked 74

Chapter 6 Showcase Showdown 83

Chapter 7 Oklahoma! 98

Chapter 8 Workin' for a Livin' 115

Chapter 9 Hellcat Under a Hot Tin Roof 136

Chapter 10 Repo Man 154

Grove Street, 1986-1987

Chapter 11 The Miracle Worker 177

Weyland Drive, 1987-1989

Chapter 12 Sixteen Candles 207

Chapter 13 A Petty Officer and a Gentleman 227

Chapter 14 Excessive Noise Disturbance 238

Chapter 15 Come Sail Away 249

New York City, 2002-2008

Chapter 16 Overboard 267

Chapter 17 Witness for the Prosecution 294

Chapter 18 Nothing but the Truth 308

Epilogue 327

Acknowledgments 333

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Burn Down the Ground 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The trouble is, deaf people also have to make a living, which is usually found in the world of the Hearing Community. And this does not always go smoothly. Crews' father, Ted Crews, was a particularly tragic case of this, a man who could never quite make that transition for long, although he was a man of many talents and skills in the world of carpentry and most areas of general contracting. Crews cannot really say for sure why her father had so many problems with authority and normal work routines. She did learn something of his childhood as a boarding student at an Oklahoma school for the deaf from the age of seven. Too young to understand, he thought his father had abandoned him there and perhaps never quite got over that. When the author told stories about her Dad when she was young, my eyes got misty remembering doing the same things with my Dad when I was young. Back in the day when you could ride in the bed of a pickup truck and Dad would let me drive the straight back road home. Trying to please him by wanting to help him do things, only to be disappointed that the position was taken by my older brother. Wheelbarrow rides around the yard and fighting off daddy long legs during camping trips. Anyone who reads this book will find a part of themselves in it. This author still has a long life to live but has endured so much more than someone like me. My life broke me, but Kambri got stronger. Whether she put up a wall to keep the pain out, put all her energy into school and work, or ran away to different states, I cannot imagine how I would cope if my Dad was in prison for attempted murder. Her Dad was the reason her family broke up and went their separate ways, but his imprisonment has brought them back together in one form or another. I do not think I could sit across from my Dad in a prison visiting room while he denied facts and only asked for money. Kambri has forgiven her Dad and has accepted who he is. "It can't be pretty without being ugly first." The Crews family has burned down the ground, best wishes for growing new, bright and healthy.  I was most interested in a this book because of the child's view of the Deaf community. I learned some things I hadn't known before, like that deaf people can be loud neighbors because they don't realize they are making noise. Crews also shares the discrimination her parents experienced in a time before the American's with Disabilities Act.    
dadreamer83 More than 1 year ago
Book was a goodreads review advance copy. Always been a fan of auto/biographies as long as I can remember. Can remember reading the big ones in elementary school. Don't know what it is about this one but loved it! Never could find myself to pull away from this. Not to say things in the book are not true but has the feel of a great story that you can not put down. Maybe my excitement with this book is the love hearing someone's own life story, tales from the past. And the life that they have had lived. Eagerly turned pages finding myself more, and more pulled into the book. Dreading when getting near the end of the book. Before I would know the story would be over. Horrified when some of the pages started to come loose and try to fall out. Sounds like my kind of luck and book happened to be signed too lol. But it was it was just like four pages and was able to finish book without anymore falling out. Due hope author will come out with some other kind of book in the future. Loved her storytelling in this one, and one of the best books I have read in awhile
elibrarian More than 1 year ago
I hounded the publicist for a copy of the early manuscript and wasn't able to put it down. This remarkable memoir is so moving and well-written and offers amazing insight into the Deaf community.
ColonelBligh More than 1 year ago
“Burn Down the Ground” is more than readable. It’s put-your-phone-on-airplane-mode, call-in-sick-for-work, ignore-your-spouse-and-family readable. No, you may not have grown up isolated in the woods. No, you may not have been immersed in the Deaf community. And no, your formative years may not have been marked by intense and random bursts of violence. But in these pages, you will recognize yourself—the tragic comedy of youth, and the terrifying realization that maybe your heroes aren’t so heroic after all. Kambri Crews is more than just someone who can tell an amazing story–she is an amazing story.
Raycho More than 1 year ago
A truly amazing, heart-wrenching story. I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to write a review of a book about the life of a real person, written by that person (who is still around to read the review!) I read this book 3 times in a row. Each time my prevailing impression was not “A deaf convict and how he tried to destroy his family,” instead it was “No matter how grim the circumstance of your family they are still your family and you love them.” This book is not about a Deaf family, though it provides useful and inspirational information about what it is like to grow up in the Deaf Community. This book is not about domestic violence, though it provides a powerful example of how badly our law enforcement handled violence against women and insight into how far we have come (and even more insight into how much further we have to go.) This book is not about alcoholism, drug abuse, infidelity or mental illness, though it does provide a frightening example of how all those things can tear a family apart. This book is about a woman who took advantage of life. Where a stranger might say, “Just give up,” Kambri Crews said, “This is just another hill that I can climb.” This is a story that provides the reader with a dose of reality and teaches us that we have much to learn about society outside of our own little micro-culture.
Carol_Amos More than 1 year ago
Kambri Crews is an incredible storyteller. Unfortunately, I haven't had the chance to see her perform yet, but she really delivers in her memoir. She provides fascinating insight into life in rural Texas - really rural Texas - and life as a CODA (Child of Deaf Adult). Finely crafted with honesty and humor, Crews' life is inspiring especially how she has been able to accept her father as he is and still have a relationship with him on her terms and without losing herself. No small feat. A great read! I look forward to more from Kambri Crews!
PhilMcCracken More than 1 year ago
Kambri Crews is a truly remarkable woman, and you'll agree by the time you come to end of her story. As remarkable as it is that she was a girl with hearing raised in a deaf household, that's only the beginning, and you'll be rooting for her as she makes her way through this rags-to-no-longer-being-in-rags story. This is one of those Oprah-type books you'll end up buying as a gift for your friends so you can discuss it.
luckygfarm More than 1 year ago
Kambri Crews is an amazing storyteller! She has a way of making the reader feel as they are in the room. She's witty, funny, and doesn't pull any punches. This book relates to so many different readers, including the deaf, low socioeconomic, and families who have had to deal with domestic violence. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll love this book!
Readsalot4 More than 1 year ago
This was a very absorbing book, a memoir of a hearing child (and her hearing brother) raised by deaf parents who were enmeshed in a dysfunctional relationship. At times, I was reminded of Jeanette Walls's The Glass Castle, but with a spousal abuse (on the part of the alcoholic father) compounding the problems. It's amazing how resilient some children are -- and how oblivious some adults are to the problems of children, their own and others' children. As a former social worker in child welfare, I recognized the patterns of unintentional neglect, both emotional and physical. The effects of neglect stay with kids longer than abuse, I believe. "A happy childhood lasts a lifetime," I've heard it said. An unhappy one does, as well. A cautionary tale for anyone who works with children.
sjziegler More than 1 year ago
The only thing I hated about this book was having to put it down and go to sleep! When the author told stories about her Dad when she was young, my eyes got misty remembering doing the same things with my Dad when I was young. Back in the day when you could ride in the bed of a pickup truck and Dad would let me drive the straight back road home. Trying to please him by wanting to help him do things, only to be disappointed that the position was taken by my older brother. Wheelbarrow rides around the yard and fighting off daddy longlegs during camping trips (man those suckers can get really big). There were times that my brother hurt me and my mother did not listen. I had bad hair, bad skin, braces, thick glasses and clothes from K-mart when I entered junior high. Fortunately, God blessed me with a big rack, so that took the boy's eyes away from my face. I changed and grew with every move to a new home. My parents only had horrible screaming fights but my brother's destructive behavior caused physical fights with my Dad. Anyone who reads this book will find a part of themselves in it. This author still has a long life to live but has endured so much more than someone like me. My life broke me, but Kambri got stronger. Whether she put up a wall to keep the pain out, put all her energy into school and work, or ran away to different states, I cannot imagine how I would cope if my Dad was in prison for attempted murder. Her Dad was the reason her family broke up and went their separate ways, but his imprisonment has brought them back together in one form or another. I do not think I could sit across from my Dad in a prison visiting room while he denied facts and only asked for money. Kambri has forgiven her Dad and has accepted who he is. "It can't be pretty without being ugly first." The Crews family has burned down the ground, best wishes for growing new, bright and healthy. If you don't believe me, check it out for yourself!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kambri Crews is so genuine as she shares her moving story. Her honesty makes you appreciate her strength and ability to overcome and it also causes you to stop and count your blessings. I couldn't put this book down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy reading and great story I could not put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I devoured this book in two days. It is written so well. You will imagine yourself right next to Crews as she describes the sights and sounds of her life. I am inspired by how well adjusted she came out of such a childhood. I recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about the deaf community.
Quisitive More than 1 year ago
This author has risen above tough circumstances to make her way in the world. This is a classic example of triumphing over seemingly insurmountable challenges to become something extraordinary. Read this book to remind yourself that if you put your mind to something, it can be done. Read it to remind yourself we are all human. Read it to remind yourself that forgiveness is crucial to love. Highly recommend.
CopperP More than 1 year ago
This is a must read by a very gifted writer and story teller!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Imagine what it would be like to grow up caught between the world of the hearing and the world of the Deaf. This is a no holds barred look at one strong woman's life It opened up a world to me that I had never bothered to consider. Kambri is a survivor who could have blamed others for the life she was delt but she overcomes and understands that it all made her stronger and everyone did their best with what they had.
DebSimon More than 1 year ago
Hold on to your socks for a wild ride! By far the best book I've read in 2015, and somewhere in the list my the top 10 books of my lifetime. It's a memoir that's truly more fascinating than a best selling non-fiction. It had me glued from the start and with each page it became even more amazing. This is a MUST READ folks, you won't be disappointed!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written and opened my eyes to the obstacles of deaf people as well as honestly protrays the life of a family dealing with domestic violence.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The review on BookBub led me to believe it was something else. It was well written....it was about a childhood predominantly filled with anger and fear of an abusive alcoholic father and a mother, because of fear for life, enabled him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story told by an even better writer! Her style of writing is easy to follow and gives you the perfect amount of detail to relate to her story. I highly recommended this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a good book! Highly recommended! I finished this book within two days. I am Deaf and I come from hard childhood so I could related to her a lot. She shared the memories, stories, Deaf culture from her heart.
DudleyS More than 1 year ago
This book wasn't a page turner, however I did enjoy it. There were parts of the story that dragged for me and I felt wouldn't have changed the story if they had been left out. What kept me reading was the desire to find out what eventually happened with Kambri's dad. Since I'm not one of those people who can just skip to the end, I kept reading. What I got most out of this book was how Kambri's mom, brother and she were able to roll with the hardships of life and ultimately thrive. They are examples of true survivors, where others under the same circumstances would have continued down the same path they grew up on with and purpetuated the cycle of abuse and poor choices. I have a great appreciation for Kambri continuing to stay in touch with her father. It is difficult to love someone, while not liking many of their actions. I also have great empathy for her father who was dealt a very bad hand of cards from day one and was never quite able to land on the right path.
forestrose More than 1 year ago
Burn Down The Ground is an inspiring true story of a girl from Texas who lives with challenges beyond what most could have endured. She not only endured her life as a hearing child with deaf parents, but survived a life of abuse and constant exposure to alcohol and drugs. Her success story an example of how overwhelming challenges can make a person stronger.Please read Burn Down the Ground by Cambri Crews.