Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon

The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Sold by Hachette Book Group
ISBN: 0446574465
Genre: Historical / Contemporary Fiction

About The Author (Author's Website):

Rachel Simon is the critically acclaimed author of six books, the best known of which are the novel The Story of Beautiful Girl (2011) and the memoir Riding The Bus With My Sister (2002). Her other books are the memoir The House on Teacher's Lane (2010); an inspirational book for writers, The Writer's Survival Guide (1997); a novel, The Magic Touch (1994); and a collection of short stories, Little Nightmares, Little Dreams (1990). Her work has been adapted for film, stage, radio and television.

Riding The Bus With My Sister, which was a national bestseller, was adapted for a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. Originally airing on CBS in 2005 and frequently rebroadcast on the Hallmark Channel, the film stars Rosie O'Donnell as Beth and Andie McDowell as Rachel, and was directed by Anjelica Huston. The success of the book and film led to Rachel becoming a widely sought-after speaker around the country.

Rachel was born in 1959 in Newark, NJ, and spent most of her first sixteen years in northern New Jersey. She graduated from Solebury School, a boarding school in New Hope, PA, in 1977, and received a degree in Anthropology from Bryn Mawr College in 1981. After spending the next few decades in the Philadelphia region and central New Jersey, Rachel moved to her current home of Wilmington, Delaware, where she lives with her husband, the architect Hal Dean. She has been writing full-time since 2007.

Author Website: Book Description:

It is 1968. Lynnie, a young white woman with a developmental disability, and Homan, an African American deaf man, are locked away in an institution, the School for the Incurable and Feebleminded, and have been left to languish, 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. But before she is forced back into the institution, she whispers two words to Martha: "Hide her." And so begins the 40-year epic journey of Lynnie, Homan, Martha, and baby Julia - lives divided by seemingly insurmountable obstacles, yet drawn together by a secret pact and extraordinary love.

My Book Review:

The Story of Beautiful Girl is a beautifully written and poignant story about four people: Lynnie, Homan, Martha and baby Julia, and how on one cold stormy night in November 1968, they meet and their lives intertwine through a 40 year journey of pain, anguish, hope, despair, sadness, happiness, self-discovery, friendship and ultimately love. The author provides a captivating storyline in which the reader follows the lives of Lynnie, Homan, Martha and baby Julia through the years with alternating chapters. While I did love following each of these characters, there were some slow parts in the middle of the story, specifically Homan's chapters, in which I found my mind wandering because his story seemed to be repetitive, but as the story progressed, I once again became engrossed in finding out what happened next to each of them. The author provides the reader with a very real and hauntingly disturbing account of what life was like for individuals who were placed in these dismal institutions. My emotions ran the gamut, and my heart just ached as I thought about what life must have been like for anyone who was institutionalized during that time period. The most dynamic message that this story provides is how the power of undying love will sustain a person through their most darkest and brightest parts of their life. This story will pull at your heartstrings, it will invoke a range of emotions, and most of all it will provide much food for thought.


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