Saturday, February 25, 2012

Review: The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon

Title:  The Story of Beautiful Girl
Author:  Rachel Simon
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Pages:  346
Published:  May 2011
Publisher:  Grand Central
Source:  Publisher
Where to Buy:  Amazon


On a stormy night in small-town America, a couple, desperate and soaked to the skin, knock on a stranger's door. When Martha, a retired schoolteacher living a safe and conventional life, answers their knock, her world changes forever.

For they are fugitives. Lynnie, a young woman with an intellectual disability, and Homan, a deaf man with only sign language to guide him, have escaped together from The School for the Incurable and Feebleminded, a brutal institution where people with disabilities are left to languish, shuttered away from the world.

In a moment of despair, they reveal that Lynnie has a newborn baby. But, moments later, the police bang on the door. Homan escapes into the darkness, Lynnie is captured. But just before she is returned to The School, bound and tied, she utters two words to Martha: "Hide her." And so begins the unforgettable story of Lynnie, Homan, Martha, and baby Julia – lives divided by seemingly insurmountable obstacles, yet drawn together by a secret pact and extraordinary love.

Life at the "School" hasn't been easy for Lynnie or Homan.  They were placed in the School for the Incurable and Feebleminded, an institution for those who don't have a place in the world because of their disabilities.  Both Lynnie and Homan have escaped, and are looking for freedom.  Unfortunately for Lynnie she is caught, but not before she places her most precious possession - her daughter, in the arms of Martha and asks her to hide her.

Homan is on the run, hoping he won't be sent back to the "School".  He goes from place to place, hoping to one day get back to "Beautiful Girl" and the baby.  Lynnie is sent back, and into her old routine.  Thankfully Kate, a nurse is there to help her and the residents.

When I first picked up this novel I was struck by the cover, it's gorgeous.  The synopsis peeked my interest, and I knew I had to read it.  At the time, I was researching a family member (I'm a Family History buff) who had spent the majority of his life in an asylum.  Which made the book all the more interesting!

This was a tough novel to read, it's not a genre or subject I would normally pick up.  I have to admit that I put the book down - for months and only recently picked it back up to finish.  I wish I hadn't put it down actually, it was so well written.

The story of Lynnie, Martha, Julia and Homan is a sad, beautiful and amazing story.

Also by Rachel:

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