The Story of Beautiful Girl
Grand Central, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
Reviewed by Barbara Lingens
n this beautifully felt novel we learn what happens when a deaf man, a woman who can't speak and a childless widow meet. A story like this can only be written by someone who has experienced living with a developmentally disabled person. To be able to get inside such a person requires a particular kind of empathy, which Rachel Simon amply demonstrates.
ynnie's terrible experience at the School for the Incurable and Feebleminded has resulted in a life-changing event for her, her deaf friend Homan and the widow Martha. Through these characters, author Simon allows us to see exactly how badly we as a society have treated those whom we consider outside the range of
. From the truly degrading actions in the school to the unthinking responses of people on the
, Simon shows it all.
et there are individuals who have a greater humanity and who therefore make a difference in struggling people's lives. Martha has to be on the run for a while, but her former students reach out to help her with no questions asked. Lynnie, though exposed to all the madness at the School, has a protective social worker in Kate.
ecause many years pass in the telling of the story, getting everyone together at the end in the way it was described seems a bit unlikely. The end also seems a bit rushed compared with the leisurely pace of the rest of the novel. Nevertheless this is a fine story, which deserves a wide reading.
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