April 18, 2011

The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon

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 40 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.

The Story Of Beautiful Girl

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.
**  Disclosure:  I did not accept any compensation from the publishers other than review copies, my views are my own, reviewed by me..as I see it~!!  **

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