The Dolphin House

Written by Audrey Schulman
Review by Andrea Connell

The Dolphin House is based on the true story of the 1965 Dolphin House experiment. In this story, Cora, a young deaf woman, finds that she has a strong connection to dolphins, particularly those being held captive in a lagoon that serves as a holding pen of sorts for gruesome experiments. Dr. Blum, the head researcher, discovers that Cora has an aptitude for communicating with and training the dolphins. In order to save the dolphins, she agrees to be part of an experiment where she lives with one of them in a type of pool house, called an “homarium,” and establishes a relationship while teaching the dolphin to speak English.

The Dolphin House is a unique story, intriguing, while at the same time odd, strange, and a bit disturbing. The way it is written is distracting; there are long, meandering sentences that would be more appropriate as footnotes as well as a bulleted list. Despite this, I was drawn into the story, which is not only about the experiment, but also makes social commentary about disability and the demeaning treatment of women during this time. A novel that will definitely give readers food for thought.