Synopses & Reviews
The Story of Beautiful Girl
gets right under the skin and into the heart with the story of Lynnie, a young white woman with a developmental disability that hinders her ability to speak, and Homan, an African American deaf man with only his home sign language to guide him. Both were institutionalized in the mid-twentieth century, when people with disabilities were routinely shut off from society and left to languish without attention, forgotten.
One night, Lynnie and her sweetheart, Homan, escape. They find refuge in the farmhouse of the widow Martha, a retired schoolteacher. But the couple is not alone; Lynnie has just borne a child. The authorities catch up to them; Homan escapes into the darkness and Lynnie is caught. But just before she is gruffly taken back to The School for the Incurable and Feebleminded, she utters two words to Martha: Hide her. And so begins the tale of three lives desperate to connect, yet kept apart by seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
"In this enthralling love story, Lynnie, a young white developmentally disabled woman with limited speech, and Homan, a deaf African-American man, meet at the Pennsylvania State School for the Incurable and Feebleminded in the late 1960s. Despite strict rules, poor conditions, an abusive staff, and the couple's lack of language, Lynnie and Homan share tender moments. After their escape, a few days of freedom not only enables the secretly pregnant Lynnie to give birth outside the walls of the corrupt institution, it also secures the couple's admiration for one another. Fears of discovery force them to leave the baby in the hands of a nurturing widow, Martha Zimmer. Soon after, the school's staff apprehend Lynnie, while Homan flees. Although their stories diverge and unfold independently of one another, memories of their short time together sustain them for more than 40 years as they develop the confidence to eventually parent, learn to sign and speak, and finally, reunite. Simon (Riding the Bus with My Sister) who grew up with a developmentally disabled sister, has written an enormously affecting read, and provided sensitive insight into a complex world often dismissed by the 'abled.' (May)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWxyz LLC)
"In its sweeping breadth and textured detail lies a finely crafted testament to the benevolence and brutality of our humanity....The Story of Beautiful Girl is a beautiful story, indeed."--John Grogan, New York Times bestselling author of Marley and Me
"For those who loved The Help by Kathryn Stockett, this one's for you."--The Utah Daily Herald
"The most compelling, resonating novel I've read in years....A breathtakingly beautiful, yet heart-wrenchingly aching story that, despite its cruelty and humanity, uplifts the reader."--Omaha World-Herald
"Heart-tugging."--O, The Oprah Magazine
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.
About the Author
Rachel Simon is an award-winning author and nationally known public speaker. She is best known for her critically acclaimed, bestselling memoir Riding The Bus with My Sister, which was adapted for a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie of the same name. The book has garnered numerous awards, and is a frequent and much beloved selection of many book clubs, school reading programs, and city-wide reads throughout the country.