Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Story of Beautiful Girl

The Story of Beautiful Girl
By Rachel Simon

This is the story about how four peoples lives intercept at a single night in 1968, and how it changes their lives forever.

Lynnie,  is developmentally challenged, young woman, and Homan is a Afro American deaf young man. They are on the run after escaping,The School for the Incurable and Feeble Minded.

 They find a farm house, and Martha a elderly widow.  But, unfortunately, the authorties find them.

Lynnie is caught, before she is taken away she whispers something in Martha's ear, hide her.

This statement changes Martha's life. She names the baby girl, Julia and moves away.
Homan, in the dark night escapes the authorities. He discovers a new way of life, and learns life lessons, and makes new friends.

Lynnie is caught and taken back to the intstitution.   After a few years, society learns of the atrocities of the condition of The School for the Incurable and Feeble Minded.  The school is closed down.  Lynnie learns to live a semi- independent life.

Then they lives intercept again. I am not going to tell you how since that may spoil it for you. This book is so good, I am hoping you will read it.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed reading The Story of Beautiful Girl.  It is slow in the beginning, but it grabs you from the start, and doesn't let go til the end.  There is a bit of Jewish themes immersed in the novel, which made the story more interesting.

 I enjoyed the author's writing style.  The author used the voices of what she thought Lynnie and Homan would think and talk. At first I had a hard time grasping it, but after a while I started getting pulled in.

The story begins from 1968 to the present.  I enjoyed reading Homan, and Lynnie's true voice, the separate lives they had, and what was happening to them.  This made you want to keep flipping the pages, and wanting to stay up in the wee hours of the night.

The Story of Beautiful Girl, was part mystery, part suspense, part romance, and also social history, and social commentary, of what happed to the physically and mentally challenged during the 1960's.

When you were physically or mentally challenged, you were usually put away in a institution and forgotten and never spoken about again.  The autrocities in these places were unspeakable. 

Thanks to JFK, new laws were put in place to protect the mentally and physically challenged.  The citizens that were physically and mentally challenged were not easily put in institutions.  They finally had rights.  Institutions started to close up. 

Unfortunately, this left some of them with not a place to go, and left them homeless, and without medical care. You were fortunate if you had family to care for you, or at least look out for your welfare.

The author, Rachel Simon read a story about a deaf, Afro American man escaping a institution. She wanted to give him a voice, and tell his story what it was like.
But, also her sister, is developmentally challenged. She wanted to discuss the treatment and conditions of the developmentally challanged during the 1960's when she was growing up.  How some people autrocized, and how society treated them before laws were changed.  Her sister was lucky, her parents never thought to give up her sister to a institution.

The Story of Beautiful Girl, would be a good discussion for a book club. There is so much to talk about.  I can't see why no one would enjoy this book, it has everything, like I said before, romance, mystery, love story, suspense, and history, and social commentary, and social history.   The social issue part of the story, stirs up your juices and gives you a voice. I can see many arguments in anger during this discussion, if our group decided to select, The Story of a Beautiful Girl.

The only thing I did not like was the end, it was too predictable. The conclusion made a romantic happy ever after ending.  But, still recommend this to my blog readers.

 I am very glad I read, The Story of Beautiful Girl.   Thank you, Rachel Simon for a copy,


bermudaonion said...

I'm listening to the audio version of this and the narrator is just not working for me. I may have to get the book in print to see if I like it better that way.

Canada said...

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.