Thursday, December 27, 2012
"The Story of Beautiful Girl" Book Review
I picked this book up because the description on the back grabbed me. My field of study and interests in college was Rehabilitation Services and there was a couple of institutions that we were supposed to tour during our study years. I was always very interested in the courses that studied the history and attitudes of the different time periods of society and how they treated their handicapped, who they considered were disabled and what they did to and for the individuals. This was an incredible story that showed the plight of hundreds of thousands of American people in the 60's and 70's who were committed to institutions around the country not only for severe handicaps for such small things as not pronouncing their words properly or for being deaf or blind. Because the story spanned so many years it also took us through the movement to deinstitutionalize those that had been "put away" and forgotten and bring them back into the community.
Through much research and the inspiration of a true story she read of an African American deaf man who was committed simply because he could not communicate and make himself understood and having the experience of a sister with developmental disabilities whom her parents refused to send to an institution, the author shows us not only the horror of what the institutions were like but also the opposite side, the story of those support workers who were caring and loving individuals and did the best they could for the patients in the most awful of circumstances. The story was an emotional ride that spanned forty years of three individuals who were drawn together by circumstance, love and commitment and though at times lost hope, continued to press on in their search to reunite. It was beautiful and heart wrenching and definitely needed keenex at the end. The author's notes and Q and A with the author at the back of the book were well worth the read and added greatly to the story.
Rating this book 9.5/10 it's one of my favorite stories for 2012.