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The Story of Beautiful Girl
The Story of Beautiful Girl
Author: Rachel Simon
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 ...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780446574464
ISBN-10: 0446574465
Publication Date: 5/4/2011
Pages: 352
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.

3.7 stars, based on 45 ratings
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Story of Beautiful Girl on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Liked "Riding The bus With My Sister" but gave up on this one halfway through. I didn't want to know what happened to the characters enough to keep going.
KentuckyReader avatar reviewed The Story of Beautiful Girl on + 37 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
In "The Story of Beautiful Girl," Rachel Simon opens the door of our world to the minds of individuals who are not all that different from us but who struggle every day to be understood. Every now and then, I will read a book that touches my heart and lingers with me long after I have read the last page. The story of Lynnie and Homan is just such a book.

While Lynnie seems a bit slow, she certainly doesn't suffer from gross retardation; and Homan is simply hearing-impaired (deaf), not intellectually compromised whatsoever. Regardless, due to a combination of poor choices, misdiagnosis, and being victims of the era into which they were born, they both end up being institutionalized for a good portion of their lives. The tragic circumstances in which they are forced to exist are harsh, abusive, neglectful, and inhumane

The story begins in 1968 on a stormy night when a lonely widow, Martha, opens her farmhouse door to a wet, terrified developmentally-disabled Caucasian woman, Lynnie, and her deaf African-American friend, Homan seeking refuge. Martha gives them shelter and as Lynnie removes her wet outer clothes, she unwraps a just-born baby girl. A little later that night, there is a second knock on the door, and it is the authorities from The Pennsylvania School for the Incurable and Feebleminded looking for two escaped inmates. But, the authorities only find Lynnie, as Homan has escaped into the dark undetected. As Lynnie is leaving she quietly whispers two words to Martha,' hide her.' Lynnie is hoping that she will not be isolated when she is returned to the school, as how else will Homan find her again. While escaping Homan is thinking on how to get back to the school to rescue Lynnie, and Martha needs to decide whether she will honor Lynnie's request.

This endearing novel goes on to follow the lives of the main characters; Homan, Lynnie, Martha and Julia (baby) over the next 40 years. I really enjoyed the book and am truly thankful that our system has changed and people with disabilities have better opportunities, and treated with the dignity they deserve.
AZmom875 avatar reviewed The Story of Beautiful Girl on + 624 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I believe reviews should help you decide if of all the books you own is this one worth your time to read. I believe the answer is yes. But you might feel, like me, that the story sure is full of co-incidences that are not all that probable or believable. As long as you can grasp that this is fiction, you might not be disappointed. Lots of flash backs that help piece the story together, plus dream sequences, and memories (which are different than flashbacks) that all add up to a book well written, but maybe tried too hard.
AnitaJRT avatar reviewed The Story of Beautiful Girl on + 96 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I have to say that this book reminds me of a book we read in high school, The Octopus. You have to read 90% (force yourself to read it) and the last 10% is good. If I hadn't been listening to this in the car during my daily commute, I probably wouldn't have finished it.
SierraK avatar reviewed The Story of Beautiful Girl on + 194 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Beautifully and compassionately written story. Lynnie ("Beautiful Girl") escapes from the Pennsylvania school for the Feebleminded and gives birth to her baby. (She
had gotten pregnant due to a rape at the school). Wanting to save her child from life at the institution, she goes to the house of a stranger and asks the homeowner to hide the child. The story follows Lynnie, Martha (the retired teacher who takes the baby), and Homan (Lynnie's deaf-mute friend who helped her escape) over a period of forty years.

The author did an amazing job of storytelling from the points of view of the developmentallyy disabled Lynnie and the deaf Homan.

Really enjoyed this one.
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eadieburke avatar reviewed The Story of Beautiful Girl on + 1605 more book reviews
1968. This is a story about Lynnie and Homan who live in abusive and inhumane conditions at the Pennsylvania School for the Incurable and Feebleminded. Lynnie is probably autistic but the term in 1968 was retarded. Homan is hearing-impaired. They fall in love and Homan helps Lynnie escape to the widow Martha's home. Lynnie has just given birth to a little girl. She was raped at the home and does not want her child to be brought up in the home. She asks Martha to hide her child. Lynnie is captured and taken back to the home but Homan has escaped. This is a well-written book that touches your heart. The book follows the main characters for the next 40 years and we are given POV's from Lynnie, Homan, Martha and Julie (Lynnie's daughter). Thanks to Geraldo Rivera for exposing the horrible conditions at these institutions as people with these problems are now treated with dignity. I found the book hard to put down and will read the author's other book called Riding The Bus with my Sister.
flowergirls avatar reviewed The Story of Beautiful Girl on + 47 more book reviews
Really good read! It was hard for me to put it down.. I agree that at some points there are way too many random Characters to follow & the story seems to drag toward the middle, but I'm so glad I stuck with it because the end genuinely made me tear up. Only wish it had an extra chapter
katiems98 avatar reviewed The Story of Beautiful Girl on + 35 more book reviews
I am so mixed on what rating to give this book. I loved the book. I loved the concept. However, there were parts that were just so cheesey and unrealistic that I found myself angry at the author for ruining such a good thing. One of those cheesy moments was the entire last three chapters. For the sake of those who have not read the book, I will not go into detail. Let's just say that it left me wanting some wine to go with the cheese;)

Unlike some of the reviewers, I liked how the book was divided in several different ways. First, it was divided into "life sections." (The author labels them "parts") Also, the book does not waste your time and words with touching on every little nit picky aspect of their lives over the 30 or so year span of the book. It properly labels each chapter with what year it is. It also divided the book according to what character's viewpoint it was. I liked this or the most part EXCEPT for the parts about Homan. I found his chapters to be boring, drab, and pretty repetitive. He finds a good place, gets into trouble, moves on (Rinse and repeat). I think the viewpoints of Lynnie, Katie, and Martha would have been just fine. Their viewpoints were interesting and played into the story. Homan's was a bout constant wandering. The author could have omitted his view point and the book would have been a little bit better. I found myself bored during his parts.

The concept of the story is great. You can really see the author's passion for people with disabilities. It is definitely a political piece, as the author wants you to see her view point of things. I did not mind that as much as some readers did. The author did a great job of painting the picture of the "school." I found the parts that took place in and around the school to be the most interesting and dynamic.

I would recommend this book to others. I really, really, really wish that the ending was not so cheesey and unbelievable. That really was almost a deal breaker for me.