Dundee Library's Reviews > The Story of Beautiful Girl

The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon
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's review
Jul 21, 2011

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Read in July, 2011

This novel’s setting begins in the ’60s. Beautiful Girl is a young girl named Lynnie who is not all the way there. Her embarrassed and overwhelmed family sends her to “The School” for the mentally challenged. Lynnie simply refers to it as the “bad place.” There, she encounters both friends and foes, and while Lynnie has always had a limited grasp of words, the tragic death of a follow resident reduces Lynnie’s vocabulary to “no.”
At the beginning of the story, Lynnie has just had a baby and is running away from the School with Number Forty-Two, an older black deaf-mute, who obviously loves Lynnie but is not the father of the child. The two runaways leave the infant with a widow and Lynnie manages to say “hide her” before being taken back to the institution by the authorities, while Number Forty-Two escapes into the night.
Now three separate stories unfold: Lynnie waits at the School to be reunited with Number Forty-Two and her daughter, Number Forty-Two tries to make his way back to Lynnie, and the Widow Martha learns to be a mother.
I found the ending decent, but too drawn-out. The characters get so old, I almost stopped caring about them- not because they were old- but because they each settled into their own lives and routines so much that the initial urge to find each other feels weakened.
Still, overall I enjoyed the uniqueness of this story and Rachel Simon did a good job telling it. I just wish so much time wouldn’t have passed in the tale, separating me from my initial urgency to see the characters back together.

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