Thursday, March 22, 2012
Book Review - The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon
About the Book:
It is 1968. Lynnie, a young white woman with a developmental disability, and Homan, an African American deaf man, are locked away in an institution, the School for the Incurable and Feebleminded, and have been left to languish, forgotten. Deeply in love, they escape, and find refuge in the farmhouse of Martha, a retired schoolteacher and widow. But the couple is not alone - Lynnie has just given birth to a baby girl. When the authorities catch up to them that same night, Homan escapes into the darkness, and Lynnie is caught. But before she is forced back into the institution, she whispers two words to Martha: "Hide her."
And so begins the 40-year epic journey of Lynnie, Homan, Martha, and baby Julia-lives divided by seemingly insurmountable obstacles, yet drawn together by a secret pact and extraordinary love.
Telling the story through the three voices of the main characters, Simon is able to show the reader the gentle and heartbreaking progress each person makes in their lives. Simon also shows the horrors of institutional living was back in the early 60s and 70s, how badly mistreated the patients and residents of these facilities were, and how much progress has been made since. She also weaves into Homan's story how the deaf community suffered from misunderstandings and his triumphs were just a pleasure to celebrate.
This is a fascinating book, well-told and is one to savor and fully absorb and enjoy. I highly recommend it!
About the Author:
Rachel Simon is the award-winning author of six books and a nationally-recognized public speaker on issues related to diversity and disability. Her titles include the bestsellers, The Story of Beautiful Girl and Riding The Bus with My Sister. Both books are frequent selections of book clubs and school reading programs around the country. Rachel's work has been adapted for theater, NPR, the Lifetime Channel, and Hallmark Hall of Fame, whose adaptation of Riding The Bus With My Sister starred Rosie O' Donnell and Andie McDowell, and was directed by Anjelica Huston.
Check out her website at www.rachelsimon.com for more information on her books and projects.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review. I was not compensated for my opinion.