Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Story of Beautiful Girl

by:  Rachel Simon
published by:  Grand Central Publishing
publish date:  May 24, 2011

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.

This was one of those books that frustrated me, because so many people absolutely loved it and I was just kinda let down by it.

In thinking it over, I think the aspect that bothered me the most was that I think I have more faith in people.  Homan could have done more.  He was smarter than his actions showed.  That not being able to sign with people just because you learned a different "dialect" is kinda dumb.  There's still pointing to items and pantomiming and drawing pictures.  It's not a completely different language here.  Also, I never understood Lynnie not wanting to know anything about her child.  I understand not wanting to get caught, but she love her and and I think that she would have wanted to know.  It didn't make sense to me.

And I had so many questions in the end.  How did Homan know which lighthouse it was in the end?  There are lighthouse everywhere and he had no point of reference.  He couldn't find his way back to the mental institute for years and years, but he could pinpoint a single lighthouse? Where did he get all the money?  Was the drug money really that much?  How did Lynnie come to be in possession of the letters?  Why didn't Julia get them?

There's a lot of positive information out there about this book, and honestly it was an interesting read, but it just didn't do it for me.

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