Customer Reviews for

The Story of Beautiful Girl

Average Rating 4
( 236 )
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(118)

4 Star

(50)

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(33)

2 Star

(14)

1 Star

(21)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

46 out of 47 people found this review helpful.

A beautiful story about a beautiful girl

I blame Rachel Simon. I blame her for the bags under my eyes and the toothpicks holding up my eyelids. And, it's all because of this book, The Story of Beautiful Girl. 3 nights this week it's had me just one more paging myself into a 2:30 am bedtime. Y'all, I have to te...
I blame Rachel Simon. I blame her for the bags under my eyes and the toothpicks holding up my eyelids. And, it's all because of this book, The Story of Beautiful Girl. 3 nights this week it's had me just one more paging myself into a 2:30 am bedtime. Y'all, I have to tell you about this book. Editorial reviews describe this book as an enthralling or unlikely love story but it is so much more. In fact, by calling this book a love story, I think the editors do it a disservice and turn away a bunch of possible (read younger males) readers. Sure, The Story of Beautiful Girl tells the story of Lynnie and Homan, two people in love who tried to run away from the Pennsylvania State School for the Incurable and Feebleminded. But, their love story isn't what drives the book. The reader recognizes that despite Lynnie's and Homan's disabilities they have the same human needs and desires that each of us do. Yes, they need freedom, respect, beauty, shelter, education, and even love. With this recognition of a very basic kinship with Lynnie and Homan, the reader begins to care about these characters whose surfaces seem so different from us. Ms. Simon's ability to create characters that we identify with and care about allows her to enthrall her readers with a decades spanning story that at times horrifies with it's unflinching look at the mistreatment of the disabled. But, The Story of Beautiful Girl does not only horrify. It also delights and thrills the reader as you watch Lynnie and Homan grown and learn and become fully realized members of the big, wide world we all live in. The Story of Beautiful Girl is a rare gem of a book and is well worth having in your library. Do yourself a huge favor and pick up a copy as soon as you can.

posted by dragondreamermom on May 6, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

16 out of 70 people found this review helpful.

BOYCOTT THIS PRICE!!!

Everyone, please start boycotting the prices greedy bookstores and greedier publishers are charging for nookbooks. B&N told me when I bought my nook last year that e-book prices would be much cheaper. This store needs to stand by what it advertised a year ago.

posted by Bandito on May 3, 2011

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  • Posted May 6, 2011

    A beautiful story about a beautiful girl

    I blame Rachel Simon. I blame her for the bags under my eyes and the toothpicks holding up my eyelids. And, it's all because of this book, The Story of Beautiful Girl. 3 nights this week it's had me just one more paging myself into a 2:30 am bedtime. Y'all, I have to tell you about this book. Editorial reviews describe this book as an enthralling or unlikely love story but it is so much more. In fact, by calling this book a love story, I think the editors do it a disservice and turn away a bunch of possible (read younger males) readers. Sure, The Story of Beautiful Girl tells the story of Lynnie and Homan, two people in love who tried to run away from the Pennsylvania State School for the Incurable and Feebleminded. But, their love story isn't what drives the book. The reader recognizes that despite Lynnie's and Homan's disabilities they have the same human needs and desires that each of us do. Yes, they need freedom, respect, beauty, shelter, education, and even love. With this recognition of a very basic kinship with Lynnie and Homan, the reader begins to care about these characters whose surfaces seem so different from us. Ms. Simon's ability to create characters that we identify with and care about allows her to enthrall her readers with a decades spanning story that at times horrifies with it's unflinching look at the mistreatment of the disabled. But, The Story of Beautiful Girl does not only horrify. It also delights and thrills the reader as you watch Lynnie and Homan grown and learn and become fully realized members of the big, wide world we all live in. The Story of Beautiful Girl is a rare gem of a book and is well worth having in your library. Do yourself a huge favor and pick up a copy as soon as you can.

    46 out of 47 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Nicely written

    THE STORY OF BEAUTIFUL GIRL is the tale of Lynnie Goldberg and John Doe Number 42, also known as Homan. It's 1968 and both are residents of The Pennsylvania State School for the Incurable and Feebleminded. Lynnie is developmentally disabled and Homan is deaf, but despite their differences and finding their own way to communicate, they fall in love.

    The story begins on a dark and rainy night after Lynnie and Homan escaped from the institution. They seek refuge at the remote farm of Martha Zimmer, a retired school teacher. After hiding the infant Lynnie has just given birth to, Homan is able to escape while Lynnie is returned to the school by the authorities, but not before beseeching the childless Martha to keep the newborn safe.

    Not knowing Lynnie's name, Homan is determined to find a way back to The Beautiful Girl. Confined to the state school, Lynnie lives through the changes wrought by the media exposure of the deplorable conditions of these state run institutions for the handicapped in the '70s. She never gives up on the hope of being reunited with both Homan and her child.

    Devoting her life to baby Julia, Martha has left the farm and relied on her former students to provide her with shelter so that the school authorities cannot find the baby. Not even knowing the names of the two people who showed up on her doorstep, she nevertheless prays that some day she'll be able to reunite Julia with her parents. Martha becomes the catalyst for change in these institutions, echoing the real life changes brought about by Geraldo Rivera's expose of the horrendous conditions at The Willowbrook School in 1972.

    Ms. Simon's sweeping love story spans nearly fifty years. Her tender handling of her protagonists reflects her care and concern for her own intellectually handicapped sister. Nicely written, I enjoyed THE STORY OF BEAUTIFUL GIRL. Lynn Kimmerle

    15 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This is a passionate character driven cautionary tale

    In 1968 at the Pennsylvania State School for the Incurable and Feebleminded, developmentally disabled white female Lynnie and deaf African-American male Homan meet. They become friends although the abusive staff keeps the "inmates" apart and the pair has a communication issue. Lynnie and Homan escape, which enables her to give birth outside the brutal institution.

    Knowing the school will hunt them down they leave their newborn with caring Widow Martha Zimmer who provided them with shelter on her farm. The school catches Lynnie, but Homan flees. For the next four decades, the two though separate thrive on their short time together while Martha decides what to do with the baby entrusted in her care.

    This is a passionate character driven cautionary tale at a time when leaders propose cuts to health care reminding readers of how society locked away in institutions those with disorders as a cheap way to ignore those who need some encouragement and support to be independent. Readers will not have a dry eye as Homan named for homing pigeons and Lynnie expect to one day meet again and see their offspring and the kind widow who took them and their baby in.

    Harriet Klausner

    10 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Love conquers all~!!

    The Story Of Beautiful Girl is an enthralling love story with many obstacles in the way thwarting the lovers from being together for decades.

    The story begins with Lynnie a young and beautiful disabled white woman with limited speech abilities and Homan, a deaf-mute African American man, who have escaped from the Pennsylvania State School of the Incurable and Feebleminded in the last 1960's. Lynnie is pregnant and it is imperative to the two that the baby not be born under those circumstances.

    The night the baby is born, its windy and rainy and the two stumble upon a farmhouse of retired grade-school teacher, Martha Zimmer. Hiding in her attic, they are discovered, Lynnie is captured and returned to the school, Homan escapes and the baby is left behind in the hopes that Martha will look after her.

    Over the course of the next 30 years we share their ups and their downs, their worries and their happiness. Lynnie never gives up her love of Homan and knows one day he will return for her. Martha agrees to look after the baby and spends the remaining years in contast state of fear that the secret will be found out and the baby will removed from her care. Enlisting her past students, each of them plays a role in hiding Martha and the baby til the day that Lynnie or Homan return. Homan travels about the country with no way of knowing where to find Lynnie, he doesn't even know her name, but as fate would have it, he is lead to the one place they shared in common, Lynnie's love of lighthouses.

    I just loved this book and couldn't put it down, I had to know if Lynnie ever got to see her baby and if she and Homan were ever reunited. The conditions of the psychiatric hospitals in the 60's and 70's were deplorable and I couldn't imagine how anyone could stand by as long as they did before the abuse was reported and the hospitals took a huge overhaul. I could imagine seeing this tale recapitulated to the big screen, it would make a great movie! I think the only thing that could've made the book better, was giving the reader more insight to the kinds of abuse occurred in the state run hospitals. As well, I was a tad disappointed in the ending, I wanted to see and feel the reunion and let the emotions that had built up during the read be released and there wasn't any, it was left to the imagination of the reader and this reader wanted release. All in all, the book is excellent and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a love story with insurmountable odds.

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 3, 2011

    Amazing! Move this one to the top of your reading list!

    I was hooked within the first couple of pages. The story never slowed down. Be sure to read the author's comments at the end of the book. Makes you realize how much of the story is based on real events and your heart will break all over again for Holman.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2011

    Exceptional

    This is the best story I have read in years. I have not been able to stop thinking about it. I could have read the story line for ever.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2011

    Ok fine but.....

    Please tell us how you liked the book!!!!!! I wish these reviews would stop being a soapbox for pricing grievances.

    8 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2011

    Excellent summer read!

    I bought this book to read at the beach and finished it in 3 days. Great writing, wonderful characters and an amazing story. It is a love story woven through darkness. I think the book is about hope, faith, love and perserverence. Check it out!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 23, 2011

    Heartwarming Read

    I could not put this book down, and read it in two nights. Rachel Simon has a unique writing style that made me WANT to read each and every word because the beauty would not have been caught had I skipped a word or two. It was a beautiful story about determination, love, hope, struggles, and rising above it all. I will tell everyone about this book. Excellent read!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2011

    Price Bashing - What's the point?

    I looked this book up to see if the reviews supported my desire to buy the book after hearing about it. Most of the reviews were helpful but what puzzles me is why would you use the area to "Review" a book to complain about the price of a Nook Book. As anything else we consider buying, if it's too expensive for you then don't buy it. It's really quite simple. This is really not the place to complain about the price of something, it's to provide a review of books to help other readers get a feel for the book. And besides complaining about the price is not going to make the seller lower it. I look forward to buying this book because of the people who did Rate & Review it! Thanks

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 11, 2011

    Soo neat, you shuold read it!

    It sounds amazing!!!
    I cant wait to read it!

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2011

    Beautiful

    What a heart wrenching story! Loved it - the message is clear! Never give up!

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 6, 2012

    Dullsville or tedious.

    I think the premise of the book was nice, but it was so boring, and the ending was so impossible, sometimes I just wonder if an author just wants to finish the book more than having a creative ending.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2012

    Two thumbs up

    I loved this book. It was beautifully written. I found myself with a smile on my face after reading certain chapters. It was sad at times but other times it wasn't. It's a book that you will definitely want to share with and pass along to others.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 27, 2012

    Don't Judge This Book By It's Cover Because I Would Have

    This is a book I wouldn't have looked twice at having seen the cover cover. However, I purchased the same book with a different cover. It's sad to admit, but true. So don't turn your nose up if you think it looks cheesy.

    One word to describe this novel is tender. It was a great story and I thought it had a beautiful plot.

    It is narrated by 5 or so of the characters, one of which is deaf, can't read, write, or speak. I couldn't help but feel his helplessness and frustration. One of the characters has a very low IQ and her chapters were easily my favorite. It's a different twist to see the world through these individual's lives.

    I used to be quite involved with the Special Olympics in my area. I completely forgot my involvement with the program until I read this book and remembered all the wonderful people I used to work with, and I'm excited to get involved again. This novel will hopefully change your outlook on people with special needs and encourage you to make sure they are treated with respect.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 23, 2011

    A must read!

    This book was beautifully written with the simplicity of the characters. As a mother of a disabled daughter it pulled at my heartstrings and had me counting my blessings that institutions have closed. This book values the humblest of humanity with warmth and compassion. A must read for those who are educated and not yet educated into the world of the disabled.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 7, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    One of the best books I've read...excellently and beautifully written. The characters really came to life and the author expertly drew you in to the story. Please read this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 21, 2011

    Best Book Ever!

    If you don't read any other book, PLEASE read this one. It's, without a doubt, one of the most well written, touching and almost lyrical books that I've ever had the pleasure of reading. When I first read the over-view, I was a little put off, thinking the story would be depressing. I chose though, to read the sample and was hooked immediately by the quality of the story as it's narrated. The story evolves around a couple who have a baby, are unable to keep it and entrust the infant to an elderly, retired teacher. The couple's lives are complicated to say the least and they are separated for many years. The teacher raises the child and this loving act is ultimately what affects all of the story's characters and leads to an ending that literally had me in tears and knowing that this story and its messages will always be remembered.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful Story!

    This book has a strong beginning. It captures your attention from the very first page. Unfortunately, it lags a little, whenever it came time to read Homan's parts. Overall it is a wonderfully uplifting, heartwarming love story. You will NOT regret investing time in this book. Truly inspiring.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Story of Humanity

    Every now and then, I will read a book that touches my heart and lingers with me long after I have read the last page. The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon is such a book. In 1968 on a stormy night a lonely, elderly widow, Martha, answers a knock on her farmhouse door. Standing before her is a deaf African-American male, Homan, and a developmentally-disabled Caucasian woman, Lynnie. While Martha is not sure how or why they chose her door, what is obvious to her is the affection they have for each other, and that they are seeking refuge. As Lynnie removes her wet outer clothes, she unwraps a just-born baby girl. A little later that night, there is a second knock on the door, and it is the authorities from The Pennsylvania School for the Incurable and Feebleminded looking for two escaped inmates. But, the authorities only find Lynnie, as Homan has escaped into the dark undetected. As Lynnie is leaving she quietly whispers two words to Martha,' hide her.' Lynnie is hoping that she will not be isolated when she is returned to the school, as how else will Homan find her again. While escaping Homan is thinking on how to get back to the school to rescue Lynnie, and Martha needs to decide whether she will honor Lynnie's request.

    This endearing novel goes on to follow the lives of the main characters; Homan, Lynnie, Martha and Julia (baby) over the next 40 years in a truly eye-opening tale. The book drew me in one page at a time as I needed to know if Lynnie would ever see her baby again, if Lynnie and Homan would be reunited, what decision would Martha make regarding the baby, and most importantly what was the back story that forced Lynnie and Homan to flee the school. While Ms. Simon will answer all of these questions, she will also take you into the often hidden world of the institutions that are entrusted with the care and treatment of people who society has labeled as disabled. The strength of the book is the inner monologues of Lynnie and Homan as they fight to survive in an unwelcome world with as much dignity as they can hold on to. These characters reflect the hope, challenges and despair of human nature and behavior.

    While at times the story may lapse into the events that may not be quite believable to some readers, such as the unquestioning help of Martha's students, this can be easily overlooked as it helps point to several questions we as a society and as individuals need to ask ourselves: How should society cope with individuals with disabilities?, How would I want to be treated if I had a disability?, and most importantly, How do I treat individuals who are different from myself?

    When Lynnie is returned to the school, we learn of the horrors, and the mistreatment she and others had to endure. While this school and many others like it have been closed and I am aware of the changes we have made in helping people with disabilities live with respect and dignity, I was dismayed to read an article in the New York Times on June 5th, regarding the death of a disabled boy and the horrific conditions under which he and others in some state institutions still have to live. Illustrating that as a society we have made some strides, but as a people we still have much to do to show compassion towards others that are different from each of us.

    I highly recommend this book to all readers who enjoy stories where the human spirit triumphs over indifference.

    Reviewed by Beverly
    APOOO Literary Book Review

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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