The Story of Beautiful Girl

The Story of Beautiful Girl

3.9 238
by Rachel Simon
     
 

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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

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Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

The Utah Daily Herald
"For those who loved The Help by Kathryn Stockett, this one's for you."
Omaha World-Herald
"The most compelling, resonating novel I've read in years....A breathtakingly beautiful, yet heart-wrenchingly aching story that, despite its cruelty and humanity, uplifts the reader."
The Oprah Magazine O
"Heart-tugging."
John Grogan
"In its sweeping breadth and textured detail lies a finely crafted testament to the benevolence and brutality of our humanity....The Story of Beautiful Girl is a beautiful story, indeed."
From the Publisher
"In its sweeping breadth and textured detail lies a finely crafted testament to the benevolence and brutality of our humanity....The Story of Beautiful Girl is a beautiful story, indeed."—John Grogan, New York Times bestselling author of Marley & Me"

For those who loved The Help by Kathryn Stockett, this one's for you."—The Utah Daily Herald"

The most compelling, resonating novel I've read in years....A breathtakingly beautiful, yet heart-wrenchingly aching story that, despite its cruelty and humanity, uplifts the reader."—Omaha World-Herald"

Heart-tugging."—O, The Oprah Magazine

Suki Casanave
The real mystery of this book lies not so much in the plot twists…but…inside the heads of its characters: How does someone like Homan or Lynnie, living with mental disability, experience and think about life? Simon addresses that question with compassion and heart, informed by her experience with her own sister, who has an intellectual disability. Readers are likely to emerge from The Story of Beautiful Girl with a new level of empathy for those who were once hidden away—and for all those living with a disability.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
In this enthralling love story, Lynnie, a young white developmentally disabled woman with limited speech, and Homan, a deaf African-American man, meet at the Pennsylvania State School for the Incurable and Feebleminded in the late 1960s. Despite strict rules, poor conditions, an abusive staff, and the couple's lack of language, Lynnie and Homan share tender moments. After their escape, a few days of freedom not only enables the secretly pregnant Lynnie to give birth outside the walls of the corrupt institution, it also secures the couple's admiration for one another. Fears of discovery force them to leave the baby in the hands of a nurturing widow, Martha Zimmer. Soon after, the school's staff apprehend Lynnie, while Homan flees. Although their stories diverge and unfold independently of one another, memories of their short time together sustain them for more than 40 years as they develop the confidence to eventually parent, learn to sign and speak, and finally, reunite. Simon (Riding the Bus with My Sister) who grew up with a developmentally disabled sister, has written an enormously affecting read, and provided sensitive insight into a complex world often dismissed by the "abled." (May)
Library Journal
Simon, author of the best-selling memoir Riding the Bus with My Sister, returns with a touching novel about three lives forever intertwined as the result of a quick meeting. Homan, black and deaf, and Lynnie, white and developmentally delayed, have fallen in love and escape together from the miserable confines of a 1960s Pennsylvania institution for the "feeble-minded," The School. They seek refuge at the farmhouse of Martha, a retired schoolteacher and widow. Employees of The School track down Lynnie and Homan, but before Lynnie is forced to return, she reveals to Martha a precious secret: she has given birth. The novel covers the decades following Lynnie's return to The School, Homan's escape, and Martha's life after she decides what to do with the child. VERDICT At times tender, at times heartbreaking, this novel will appeal to fans of Simon's previous work and anyone interested in the deplorable treatment in the not-so-distant past of those with disabilities. [See Prepub Alert, 11/9/10.]—Shaunna Hunter, Hampden-Sydney Coll. Lib., VA

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780446574457
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
02/13/2012
Pages:
358
Sales rank:
124,384
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Rachel Simon is an award-winning author and nationally known public speaker. She is best known for her critically acclaimed, bestselling memoir Riding The Bus with My Sister, which was adapted for a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie of the same name. The book has garnered numerous awards, and is a frequent and much beloved selection of many book clubs, school reading programs, and city-wide reads throughout the country.

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