I have never heard of Rachel Simon. So, imagine going to buy books and seeing one sticking out and it is titled “The Story of Beautiful Girl,” and you think…well, is it not supposed to be ‘a beautiful girl,’ or ‘the beautiful girl?’ So, you pick it and read the blurb:
It is 1968, Lynnie, a young white woman with a developmental disability, and Homan, an African American deaf man, are locked away in the School for the Incurable and Feebleminded, and have been left to languish in the institution, 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. Before she is forced back into the institution, she whispers two words to Martha: “Hide her.”
Lynnie’s story begins the moment she trusts Martha with her baby girl that night. She is taken back to the institution and her favorite attendant, Kate, notices the change in her and this sets the pace for a long term friendship and trust. According to The Washington Post, this book is “heart-wrenching,” but it’s more of an eye-opener. There are institutions for people with disabilities and more often than not, there have been cases of neglect, abuse and even mismanagement of resources. However, what Rachel succeeds in this book is to show the reader that Homan is deaf, but he has feelings and knows right from wrong. He escapes with Lynnie to protect her baby. Lynnie has a developmental disability but she loves her daughter and is willing to entrust her to an old widow, Martha, because she wants her child to be loved and not raised in an institution.
Inasmuch as I would have loved to read about the reunion of Lynnie and her child, I would still admit that the story will break your heart and slowly assemble the pieces together without you knowing where that strength and relief came from.
Visit Rachel’s site for more on this book: here