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Optimism (1903)

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  162 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Who better than Helen Keller to write about optimism? Helen Keller became blind when she was nineteen months old. At the time children who were deaf and blind were simply given up on. But Helen's mother read that a deaf blind person had been educated and decided to explore that possibility for her daughter. As a result of this Helen Keller was the first deaf blind person t ...more
Paperback, 84 pages
Published July 13th 2006 by Book Jungle (first published 1903)
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The Story of My Life by Helen KellerTeacher by Helen KellerThe Miracle Worker by William  GibsonLight in my Darkness by Helen KellerThe World I Live In by Helen Keller
Helen Keller & Anne Sullivan Macy
18th out of 33 books — 5 voters
The Writing Life by Annie DillardSlouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan DidionOn Photography by Susan SontagA Writer's Diary by Virginia WoolfOptimism by Helen Keller
a year of reading: 2014
5th out of 14 books — 1 voter

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Vaishali Joglekar
Jul 02, 2016 Vaishali Joglekar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
How lucky we were to have this incredible woman sharing our planet. Sans the inaccurate paragraphs on India and her antiquated view of "savages", this is a priceless read from someone who had every reason for pessimism.

If happiness is to be so measured, I who cannot hear or see have every reason to sit in a corner with folded hands and weep.

Darkness cannot shut me in again. I have had a glimpse of the shore, and can now live by the hope of reaching it.

My optimism is no mil
Nov 17, 2012 Yusra rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
I really enjoyed this read. Just knowing her story made it that much more inspiring. I would have given it five stars, but the eurocentrisim/racism just left a bad taste in my mouth. Its extremely hard to get over similar passages by writers from the same era, even though I know that it was written during a certain time with different ideologies and morals. There is only so much of it we can take.
Feb 15, 2016 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Favorite lines:

"I long to accomplish a great and noble task; but it is my chief duty and joy to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble."

"No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit."

"If Browning were less difficult to read, he would surely be the dominant poet in this century. I feel the ecstasy with which he exclaims, “Oh, good gigantic smile o’ the brown old earth this autumn morning!”
Rick Wilcox
Mar 24, 2014 Rick Wilcox rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This should be required reading for, well, everyone. Beyond the unspeakable miracle that was Helen Keller, the ringing voice of hope in these pages is a clarion to the cynicism that now blankets the 21st century. She writes -

“I know what evil is. Once or twice I have wrestled with it, and for a time felt its chilling touch on my life; so I speak with knowledge when I say that evil is of no consequence, except as a sort of mental gymnastic. For the very reason that I have come in contact with it,
Khama Weatherspoon
Jul 08, 2016 Khama Weatherspoon rated it it was amazing
If you think you had it bad...try finding the silver lining when all you see is unadulterated pitch-blackness...literally...
Kathy Vincenz
Mar 25, 2013 Kathy Vincenz rated it really liked it
What a wonderful focus on why we should be optimist about the world from a woman who had every reason to be a pessimist. We need to learn something from her. We focus too much on the negative. It is also short, which is always a good thing :)
Mar 25, 2015 Cindy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very short, but very powerful. A "must read" in this day & age.
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Helen Keller would not be bound by conditions. Rendered deaf and blind at 19 months by scarlet fever, she learned to read (in several languages) and even speak, eventually graduating with honors from Radcliffe College in 1904, where as a student she wrote The Story of My Life. That she accomplished all of this in an age when few women attended college and the disabled were often relegated to the b ...more
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“Once I knew the depth where no hope was, and darkness lay on the face of all things... But a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hand that clutched at emptiness, and my heart leaped to the rapture of living.” 6 likes
“Once I knew the depth where no hope was, and darkness lay on the face of all things. Then love came and set my soul free.” 2 likes
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