I just finished reading Rachel Simon’s The Story of Beautiful Girl, about Lynnie, a young woman with intellectual disabilities who is an inmate in an institution for the “feeble minded,” in the 1970’s, and Homan, a deaf African American older man — also from the institution — who loves her. At the start of the book Lynnie and Homan have run away so that Lynnie could have her baby — a secret they’ve kept from the institution people.The book chronicles their lives through time in the context of Pre-Inclusion America.
I cannot praise Ms. Simon enough for this tour de force. I have not loved a book like this in so long! This is one of those books where you just wish it was not over. The story is riveting and so moving, and really opened my eyes (even more) to the treatment of those with disabilities then and now. There was a great attention to detail, in all the main characters, but especially Homan and Lynnie. They were believable and lovable. They also grew over time, as did other characters — and in a credible way. Simon also did her research in terms of creating the feel and historical background of the period of institutionalization. A humane, loving, and absorbing book, start to finish. Buy Beautiful Girl, read it, love it!