The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon

Summary ~ The Story of Beautiful Girl~ 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.

The Story of Beautiful Girl is haunting, hopeful and beautifully written.  Rachel Simon brings the reader a story that unfortunately reflects real life and what was happening in our country in the early to mid twentieth century.  It is a story about a girl named Lynnie who was loved by her parents but not enough to be brave and care for her themselves or even maintain a relationship with her when they place her into an institution for the intellectually inhibited.  The year is 1968 when Lynnie is facing a very difficult time in her life.  She was impregnated by a fellow resident at “The School” and doesn’t want her baby to face the same fate she has.  With the help of her true love Homan, a deaf-mute who lives and works at the school, she escapes and gives birth to her daughter on a stormy night.  With nowhere to go and fear racing through their veins Lynnie, Homan and “Little One” come across a small farm-house where an unsuspecting older woman lives.  They knock on the door seeking refuge and not only do they briefly find kindness and care in Martha’s home, Lynnie finds “Little One’s” salvation and protector without really knowing it in the moment.  And so begins the amazing story of Lynnie, Homan, Martha and “Little One” aka Julia. 

I was swept up in the story immediately and ate up the pages with satisfaction and anticipation.  Each character, including Lynnie’s best friend and nurse Kate were given ample time for character and story building throughout the story.  Each person was effected by the terrible treatment of the intellectually inhibited and the outcome of others actions.  It brought to light a time and events that would probably prefer to be forgotten by some but haunt others.  At times I was reminded of The Memory Keeper’s Daughter but this was a much darker and emotional story and left me feeling completely different after reading it.  I felt like I had learned some history and had a new understanding and respect for people who were born this way.  Not only was the character development strong but the descriptions of settings was so well written that each place came to life for me.  I just love that!

I highly recommend picking up The Story of Beautiful Girl when you get a chance and finding out for yourself what I enjoyed about it.  I also advise friending Rachel Simon on Facebook and following her on Twitter because she is very active and one of the most gracious authors I’ve come across.  She’s a busy bee this summer but it’s nice to “meet” authors via social media and Rachel is one of my favs. 

Thanks to NetGalley.com for providing the opportunity to read and review The Story of Beautiful Girl.  If you are a “professional reader” and are looking for new ways to review upcoming titles be sure to check out Net Galley.  It’s a cool website with a quick turn around on review copy requests.  It’s a digital download of the review copy and they even format for Kindle which was how I read The Story of Beautiful Girl.

{Rating ~ 4 out of 5}

One thought on “The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon

  1. GREAT review! Wonderful summary of Rachel Simon, too! Yes, she IS a social butterfly!! A GREAT friend! I would highly recommend on following her as well, and picking up this book to read! I feel the same way after reading this book! I, also, did a review on this book, and it remains one of my most favorite books of all time as well! This story stays with you long after you read it! This book is a ‘Can’t Miss’!
    Laurie

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