The 68th book read in my .....
On a stormy night in small-town America, a couple desperate and soaked to the skin, knocked on a stranger's door. When Martha, a retired schoolteacher living a safe and conventional life, answers their knock, her world changes for ever.
For they are fugitives, Lynnie, a young woman with an intellectual disability, and Homan, a deaf man with only sign language to guide him, have escaped together fron The School for the Incurable and Feebleminded, a brutal institution where people with disabilities are left to languish, shuttered away from the world.
In a moment of despair, they reveal that Lynnie has a newborn baby. But, moments later, the police bang on the door. Homan escapes into the darkness, Lynnie is captured. But just before she is returned to The School, bound and tied, she utters two words to Martha: 'Hide her'. And so begins the unforgettable story of Lynnie, Homan, Martha, and baby Julia - lives divided by seemingly insurmountable obstacles, yet drawn together by a secret pact and extraordinary love.
...... Outer back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Part 1: The Bride's Request): 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.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 100): There was one other thing in the pouch. A metal pencil sharpener Doreen had snuck away from Uncle Luke's secretary, Maude. Lynnie was hoping to use it if she ever had the good fortune to own her own pencils.
KEEP IT OR NOT?: A reading group book, this shall be returned for other groups to read - I shan't be buying a copy of my own.
'As powerful and gripping as The Help' claims the bright red sticker prominently stuck to the front cover.
Ok, so The Story Of Beautiful Girl was an enjoyable enough read but I certainly wouldn't compare it with Kathryn Stockett's The Help (click HERE to see my review).
Told mainly by 'Beautiful Girl' Lynnie, and 'Buddy' (aka Homan) with occasional insights from staff member, Kate and retired school teacher, Martha, the novel covers the years from 1968 when Beautiful Girl and Buddy show up on Martha's doorstep to 2011 when ..... ha, as if I'm going to tell you, now that would be a spoiler.
I don't know if it was because the book told the story of three different people with several long gaps left in the narrative or whether it was because I really only found few of the events vaguely interesting but this novel just didn't flow for me.
No, of much more interest to me than the characters themselves were the passages chronicling the history of The School - I won't go into any further details now other than to say this I thought very realistic and very, very moving.
As I said an ok read that I personally think was let down by the comparison with The Help, you may enjoy this if you liked The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (click HERE for my review) which to me was quite similar in several ways...... uh-uh, now there's me making a comparison which as I've just pointed out is not always a helpful thing.