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The Story of Beautiful Girl


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A devastatingly powerful and memorable novel for readers of The Memory Keeper's Daughter.

About the Author

Rachel Simon is an award-winning author, renowned public speaker, and sister of a woman with an intellectual disability. 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 and is a much-beloved selection of book clubs and secondary school reading lists. She lives in Delaware.


On a dark night in the late 1960s, Homan, a deaf African-American man, and Lynnie, a young white woman with very little vocal ability, arrive on Martha Zimmer's doorstep during a severe storm. While giving the drenched and mysterious couple food and a change of clothes, Martha learns they also have a newborn baby girl. Moments later, employees from the Pennsylvania State School for the Incurable and Feebleminded arrive to recapture the runaways. Homan is able to escape out the back door, while Lynnie manages just two words to Martha: "Hide her." The next morning, with Homan appearing to have drowned in a flooded river and Lynnie back in the institution, Martha-a childless widow and retired schoolteacher-leaves her home with the infant in tow, determined to keep her promise. Kate Reading's narration is engaging and appropriate. She creates and alternates between different voices for the book's characters in a way that is subtle, effective, and never distracting, which only adds to a masterful book that covers subject matter both appalling and enthralling. A Grand Central hardcover. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Simon, author of the best-selling memoir Riding the Bus with My Sister, returns with a touching novel about three lives forever intertwined as the result of a quick meeting. Homan, black and deaf, and Lynnie, white and developmentally delayed, have fallen in love and escape together from the miserable confines of a 1960s Pennsylvania institution for the "feeble-minded," The School. They seek refuge at the farmhouse of Martha, a retired schoolteacher and widow. Employees of The School track down Lynnie and Homan, but before Lynnie is forced to return, she reveals to Martha a precious secret: she has given birth. The novel covers the decades following Lynnie's return to The School, Homan's escape, and Martha's life after she decides what to do with the child. VERDICT At times tender, at times heartbreaking, this novel will appeal to fans of Simon's previous work and anyone interested in the deplorable treatment in the not-so-distant past of those with disabilities. [See Prepub Alert, 11/9/10.]-Shaunna Hunter, Hampden-Sydney Coll. Lib., VA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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