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The Story of Beautiful Girl (2011)

by Rachel Simon

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1,0737818,154 (3.93)38
"A novel about a woman who can't speak, a man who is deaf, and a widow who finds herself suddenly caring for a newborn baby"--Provided by publisher.
  1. 40
    The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman (Richardson76)
    Richardson76: So far this year these 2 books have been my favorite. Both are written well with wonderful and unusual story lines. I think both would make great book club books. Highly recommend both and solidify why I read in the first place.

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» See also 38 mentions

English (77)  Dutch (1)  All languages (78)
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)

I love this story. I love the historical insight that is a part of our country we never acknowledge. I love the balance of character perspective. I love Lynnie and Kate and Homan.
I so appreciate the authors ability to relate horribly ugly situations and characters without becoming overly graphic. She took the reader to those places and introduced them to those characters and brought the scene or character to life vividly without resorting to cheap unnecessary graphicness.
There are parts of this book where you have to suspend belief because there are some gaps and some things that would really take extraordinary events for it to play out the way it did. I was able to do that because I did care about the characters.
( )
  MsTera | Oct 10, 2023 |
Lynnie can't process things and speak, so her parents institutionalize her. It's nothing more than a warehouse for lost souls, so her limited capacity to learn is further hindered. She is raped one night & gives birth with a deaf man's help to a baby girl. They escape the "school", finally landing at an old lady's farm, where they hide in the attic with the baby. Lynnie is dragged back to the school, the man escapes (although everyone believes him dead) and the old lady raises the baby. Many years later, Lynnie's sister finds her and the baby, of course now grown. And the deaf man has settled in a shore town with a lighthouse, thinking that eventually Lynnie will find him, which she does. ( )
  nancynova | Nov 24, 2022 |
This was a great, heart-wrenching read. The way people with mental disabilities were treated "back in the day" was deplorable. Made me research some of the places where they were kept.
( )
  Jen-Lynn | Aug 1, 2022 |
Beautiful girl was placed in the " School for the Incurable and Feebleminded" by her family and forgotten; as were most of the other residents. (1968) This is a story of heartbreak but also resilience as well as some good luck. It was a good story even if a bit sappy at the end. ( )
  Tess_W | Oct 2, 2021 |
The changing character perspectives from chapter to chapter made this a hard one to get into for me, but in the end I thought it was very good. Interesting, heartbreaking glimpse into the world of mid-20th century institutionalization of the developmentally disabled, and a good story too. ( )
  CaitlinMcC | Jul 11, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
Simon, who wrote so sensitively about disability in her memoir Riding the Bus With My Sister, often skirts schmaltz in The Story of Beautiful Girl, but she manages to steer her reader toward the truly stirring.
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Telling our stories is holy work.  --The Reverend Nancy Lane, Ph.D.
For those who were put away.
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At the end of the night that would change everything, the widow stood on her porch and watched as the young woman was marched down her front drive and shoved into the sedan.
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"A novel about a woman who can't speak, a man who is deaf, and a widow who finds herself suddenly caring for a newborn baby"--Provided by publisher.

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