cheryl's Reviews > The Story of Beautiful Girl

The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon
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's review
Jun 01, 12

It is an ordinary, quiet night when Martha, a retired small-town teacher, finds visitors on her doorstep. Homan and Lynnie are clearly running from something and they have a newborn baby with them. It becomes clear they are escaping from the School, an institution where Lynnie has been placed due to her developmental disabilities and where Homan has been as well (he's deaf and unable to communicate when he was found since his signs are not ASL...he is, however, of normal intelligence). Authorities soon arrive, taking Lynnie back while Homan escapes and Martha hides the newborn. The chapters rotate between the characters, showing the troublesome world of institutions contrasted with the power of love in many forms.

I won this book on Goodreads and I'm glad I did. The story is hard to read at times but there are many moments of hope throughout and it ends up falling into the heart-warming category. There is also a lot of emphasis on communication and the perils of being trapped without it as shown by both the story of Lynnie, unable to speak of the abuses at the School, and Homan, who spends years on the run and is also unable to communicate. There's a good bit of cliche, especially in the character of Kate, a teacher who cares for and mentors Lynnie despite the prevailing tone at the School, but I still enjoyed the read. Parts did drag and it felt a bit predictable, but still rooted a good story with some good folks to cheer for throughout. I can't really call it "light" given the portrayal of how the mentally disabled were treated fairly recently in our culture (the story opens in 1968), but it was still an easy read for someone who wants a bit more substance than typical summer fare. Four stars.

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