I (Athena) by Ruth DyckFehderau
When Athena was a young girl in the 60s, she lost her hearing to a childhood fever but was misdiagnosed as "profoundly retarded" and institutionalized for thirty years. Now she's out of the institution, awkward and bookish, and learning to integrate with mainstream society where nothing works quite like she thinks it should. Athena researches her past, trying to understand why she was institutionalized in the first place and why the people looking after her made such a huge mistake. At the same time, she tries to find a way to live with the man who was her lover in the institution, uncovering all sorts of surprises along the way.
Funny, tough, and serious-minded, Ruth DyckFehderau's I (Athena) recalls the work of Barbara Gowdy and Elizabeth Strout. (From NeWest Press)