Holly Weiss's Reviews > Helen Keller in Love: A Novel

Helen Keller in Love by Rosie Sultan
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Apr 25, 12

bookshelves: historical-fictionistas, to-review, kindle
Read from April 22 to 25, 2012

Helen Keller the miracle or Helen Keller the Human Being?

Article first published as Book Review: Helen Keller in Love by Rosie Sultan on Blogcritics

What happened to Helen Keller after The Miracle Worker? History records her graduating from college in 1904 and helping to found the ACLU in 1920. A devoted humanitarian, Helen constantly worked on behalf of those with disabilities. She learned several means of communication: lip touching, finger spelling, Braille, speech, typing. The historical record reveals her public life and impact on society. What happened in her personal life?

In Helen Keller in Love we learn that when Helen was ten, her father died, leaving no provision to support her or pay Annie Sullivan’s salary. (view spoiler)

While on a speaking tour with Helen, Annie is stricken with tuberculosis. Peter, hired to be Helen’s secretary, soon finds himself translating conversations, letters and newspapers for. Much to his delight, she becomes brazen and forward.

Written in Helen’s impassioned, stubborn first person voice, the book describes her love affair with this man with many reasons to exploit her. The premise is both provocative and human. Why wouldn’t a woman deprived of so much have emotional and sexual yearnings? “At age thirty-seven she says, “I was tired of being perfect Helen Keller…I wanted to break free.”

The book will surely prompt controversy. Some reviews criticize the book for placing a stain on Helen Keller’s reputation. How difficult to take a slice of a high-profile person’s life and turn it into a novel. I give Rosie Sultan credit. She opened herself up for scrutiny and criticism. To all of the “this could never have happened” critics, remember that this is a work of fiction based on an extraordinary real person. The extensive research done for the book substantiates that Helen Keller and Peter Fagan did have a love affair.

The story lost its impact for this reader by telling the outcome of the love affair within the first few pages. The reader is constantly on edge wondering what unseemly things Peter is up to. Although Helen’s voice is credibly written, the threads of Helen Keller in Love don’t weave together to make an entirely plausible read.

Netgalley graciously provided the review copy.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Tara Chevrestt No approval here. I've asked twice. But the ratings are growing so poor...


Holly Weiss Thanks for telling me. Figured as much.


Tara Chevrestt Just got it today!


Holly Weiss Tara wrote: "Just got it today!"
Yes, I did also. Thanks.


Tara Chevrestt I am having some difficulty w it. Have u started yet? It totally ruins the image I've always carried about her. Instead of an independent woman, ilm seeing a woman totally dependent on Annie. Though Annie is a control freak who denied Helen communication w other, who wanted it this way. And the way she sympathizes w the bloody Germans during the war... I don't like it. Lol


Holly Weiss Tara wrote: "I am having some difficulty w it. Have u started yet? It totally ruins the image I've always carried about her. Instead of an independent woman, ilm seeing a woman totally dependent on Annie. Thoug..."

Thanks for the heads-up. I won't get to it for another week or so.


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