The Story of Beautiful Girl
by Rachel Simon
I have not read a book quite like this one before. The Story of Beautiful Girl is about a intellectually disabled young woman, Lynnie, who does not speak and an African American man, Homan, who is deaf. Both of them have been institutionalized at The School for The Incurable and Feeble Minded, but but have escaped. They show up at the farmhouse of a widowed, retired school teacher seeking shelter in the middle of the night.
Rachel Simon Introduces The Story of Beautiful Girl
I found this book compelling. The story covers a 40-year time span, and at times I felt it could have been more than one book. I was never bored reading this story and have reread it more than once. It is a book with heart.
Simon uses the backdrop of the 1960s mental institutions where many of society’s undesirables were housed. Some of the situations described are heart rending and feel like they could have been based on true events.
Simon delves into various issues but in the end the story wraps up neatly while still providing much food for thought. The story concludes on a happy note, which some may find unrealistic for a book about this topic. Normally, I do not care for endings that are too much a reach, but I like this book.
Some people have found this to be a difficult read. I found it thought provoking.
The story explores issues relating to the treatment and discrimination against those deemed “Feeble Minded”. In addition, characters wrestle with the meaning of suffering and the existence of God.
The Story of Beautiful Girl contains mature issues relating to abuse of the disabled, rape, conditions of institutionalized people with disability in the time period, abandonment, and mistreatment.
Quotes from The Story of Beautiful Girl
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