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1 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

Helen Keller in Love

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Helen Keller in Love Cover

ISBN13: 9780670023493
ISBN10: 0670023493
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A captivating novel that explores the little-known romance of a beloved American icon

Helen Keller has long been a towering figure in the pantheon of world heroines. Yet the enduring portrait of her in the popular imagination is The Miracle Worker, which ends when Helen is seven years old.

Rosie Sultan’s debut novel imagines a part of Keller’s life she rarely spoke of or wrote about: the man she once loved. When Helen is in her thirties and Annie Sullivan is diagnosed with tuberculosis, a young man steps in as a private secretary. Peter Fagan opens a new world to Helen, and their sensual interactions—signing and lip-reading with hands and fingers—quickly set in motion a liberating, passionate, and clandestine affair. It’s not long before Helen’s secret is discovered and met with stern disapproval from her family and Annie. As pressure mounts, the lovers plot to elope, and Helen is caught between the expectations of the people who love her and her most intimate desires.

Richly textured and deeply sympathetic, Sultan’s highly inventive telling of a story Keller herself would not tell is both a captivating romance and a rare glimpse into the mind and heart of an inspirational figure.

Synopsis:

The astonishing and imaginative debut novel about Helen Keller and the man she loved

What comes to mind when you think of Helen Keller? Is it the deaf-mute wild child at the water pump outside her Tuscumbia, Alabama, home portrayed in The Miracle Worker or the adult activist for the rights of the disabled and women, the socialist who vehemently opposed war? Rosie Sultans debut novel imagines an intimate part of Kellers life she rarely spoke or wrote about: her one and only love affair.

Peter Fagan, a reporter from Boston, steps in as her secretary when her companion Annie Sullivan falls ill. The world this opens up for her is not the stuff of grade school biographies. Their affair meets with stern disapproval from Annie and from Helens mother, and when the lovers plot to elope, Helen is trapped between their expectations and her innermost desires. Sultans courageous novel insists on Helens right to desire, to human frailty—to be fully and completely alive.

About the Author

Rosie Sultan earned her MFA at Goddard College and won a PEN Discovery Award for fiction. A former fellow at the Virginia Center for the Arts, she has taught writing at Boston University, the University of Massachusetts, and Suffolk University. She lives with her husband and son in Brookline, Massachusetts.

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code7r, May 4, 2012 (view all comments by code7r)
“Helen Keller in Love” by Rosie Sultan is a story about Helen Keller when she was 36 years old and her love affair with her secretary, Peter Fagan. It is told through the voice of Helen Keller. The target audience for this book is young adults/adults.

Reading the synopsis of this book really intrigued me. Helen Keller really was an amazing woman who overcame incredible obstacles and her story deserves to be told. Usually we are only told the story of the childhood of Helen Keller, but this book takes us directly into her adult life.

Helen’s companion, since the time she was 7 years old, was Anne Sullivan. Anne Sullivan continued to be Helen’s main companion and interpreter until her death, I believe. This story illustrates that Anne was a bit controlling and she completely tried to dissuade Helen from ever pursuing a romantic relationship. Helen’s mother had the same agenda also. When Anne is diagnosed with tuberculosis, she is forced to bring in another person to be Helen’s secretary until she can get better. Thus, in comes Peter Fagan. Helen is immediately drawn to Peter Fagan. I don’t see why she was unless it was because he was the first non-related male she came into close contact with and the thrill of that made Helen pursue him. Peter immediately takes to Helen and they begin a secret romance.

Although this book was told with Helen as the narrator, I sometimes forgot that she was deaf or blind. How did she know of conversations that didn’t include her? Sometimes the author would allude to sounds such as “…crossed the room in a sslap-sslap-sslap of her bare feet.” I guess it could mean what the vibrations felt like, but to me it came across more as what it sounded like rather than felt like. But this is just a minor issue. Helen Keller must have been very lonely and really wanted to have independence, which would be impossible since she had to rely on someone for everything such as picking out her clothes or telling her what was going on in the world. This book highlights her loneliness and her dependence on Anne Sullivan. The relationship with Peter seemed rushed and a little unrealistic, but perhaps that was the way it really was.

We never think about what Helen’s life was like after childhood and this book was an interesting peek into her adult life. There were some minor issues with the story that I didn’t like, but overall it was a good read and I learned some really interesting things about Helen and Anne and what life must have been like for both of them… they both depended on and needed each other. Was this detrimental or instrumental to their relationship? That is up to the reader to decide.
**This book was received for free through Goodreads First Reads. That in no way influenced my review.**
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780670023493
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Sultan, Rosie
Publisher:
Viking Adult
Subject:
Romance - Historical
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20120426
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Biographical
Fiction and Poetry » Romance » Historical

Helen Keller in Love Used Hardcover
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Product details 256 pages Viking Books - English 9780670023493 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
The astonishing and imaginative debut novel about Helen Keller and the man she loved

What comes to mind when you think of Helen Keller? Is it the deaf-mute wild child at the water pump outside her Tuscumbia, Alabama, home portrayed in The Miracle Worker or the adult activist for the rights of the disabled and women, the socialist who vehemently opposed war? Rosie Sultans debut novel imagines an intimate part of Kellers life she rarely spoke or wrote about: her one and only love affair.

Peter Fagan, a reporter from Boston, steps in as her secretary when her companion Annie Sullivan falls ill. The world this opens up for her is not the stuff of grade school biographies. Their affair meets with stern disapproval from Annie and from Helens mother, and when the lovers plot to elope, Helen is trapped between their expectations and her innermost desires. Sultans courageous novel insists on Helens right to desire, to human frailty—to be fully and completely alive.

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