Last year, I had the privilege of reading The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon way before it was published. I can very honestly say it was one of (if not THE best one) the best books I have read in a while and you know I don’t tell you that very often.
Comparisons might be made to The Help, but they are similar only superficially. I can tell you however, that if you liked “The Help,” you will love The Story of Beautiful Girl. It has so many layers and touches on so many timely topics: history, love & passion, race, alternative families, family secrets and lost relatives, empty nests, disabilities, sexual abuse…
Don’t take my word for it, go out and read it! (And, check out Rachel Simon’s site too, it’s pretty nifty)
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.
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.