If you are a fan of Susan Sheehan’s Is There No Place On Earth For Me?, or you simply want to be hooked and drawn into a remarkably fascinating story, you must pick up a copy of Rachel Simon’s The Story of Beautiful Girl. Like Sheehan’s Is There No Place On Earth For Me?, The Story of Beautiful Girl sheds a discerning light on the world of institutions and those who have been subjected to the run down corners of these places that have a façade of schools or homes. Simon’s characters bring a heartbreakingly vibrant story to life; one that will not be soon forgotten.
The Story of Beautiful Girl begins in 1968 and spanning over 30 years. Lynnie, a young white woman whose parents are embarrassed and do not understand her developmental disability, and Homan, an African American deaf man, are placed in the School for the Incurable and Feebleminded. They manage to escape after a tragic incident occurs involving Lynnie and find refuge with Martha, a retired schoolteacher living alone on a farm. Having just given birth, Lynnie desperately tells Martha to “hide her” just as authorities show up at the farmhouse. Homan manages to escape once more, but Lynnie is brought back to the school. From that point the story unfurls into a beautifully written piece of literature that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat with anticipation as each character fights for their lives and each other. It is a story like no other, capturing the most feral and desperate of human emotions, and giving us all hope that we can reach what we seek most.
As a reader of Rachel Simon’s work, you will be delighted as much as I at her exquisite storytelling capabilities and breathtaking imagery. Her characters are amazingly well crafted and spring off the pages with much depth and I have no fear that you will walk away from this book deeply moved and hungry for more.
Rachel Simon will be here at BookPeople to speak & sign The Story of Beautiful Girl on Sunday, February 19, 4pm.