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Summer Reading: The Story Of Beautiful Girl

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Between the cost of movie tickets and a babysitter, going to the movies has become more of a luxury than the “cheap date” it used to be.

However, this Verona mom needs a daily mental escape from well, pretty much everything. So, I read. Sometimes a paragraph, sometimes a page, and if the book is really capturing my attention, well past the time I should be going to bed.

In various conversations at differing times of day, and with anyone who also has a spare five minutes, people ask me what I’m reading. I often share what I just finished, what might have been from a local author, how high the stack on my bookshelf is, and what’s next.

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With all of this in mind, MyVeronaNJ.com is launching a book review series for our readers. These books are a collection of mostly fiction that I’ve read relatively recently. Some are new releases and some are classics that I’ve re-read. Most importantly, these are the books that I keep recommending to people.

In The Story of Beautiful Girl, by Rachel Simon, we enter Lynnie’s world in 1968, when developmental disabilities were widely unresearched and misunderstood. Lynnie’s parents, at the suggestion of their doctor, decide to place her in a facility in upstate New York.  While there, Lynnie and Homan, a deaf African American man and fellow patient, fall in love and escape the facility, so Lynnie can give birth.  That same night, the school authorities find Lynnie and Homan, and while Homan is able to escape, Lynnie is returned to the facility, but not before leaving her infant daughter in the care of Martha, a retired school teacher. The story continues on with a 40-year journey of Lynnie, Homan and Lynnie’s baby to find each other again.

Through the eyes of Lynnie and Homan, the reader is given insight to the tremendous misunderstandings of those with developmental disabilities. I was completely immersed in both the “school” and the lives of Lynnie, Homan, and Martha and how they came to be who they were.  The determination and bravery of these characters is incredible to follow and made it almost impossible for me to put the book down.

Here, in her own words, Ms. Simon introduces the book and tells of her inspiration for the story.

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