The Story of Beautiful Girl
by Rachel Simon
Grand Central Publishing, 2011. 346 pgs. Fiction
One stormy night in 1968, retired school teacher Martha Zimmer opens her door to find two mysterious strangers on her porch. Lynnie is developmentally disabled and Homan is deaf, and they have escaped from the nearby Pennsylvania State School for the Incurable and Feebleminded. A few hours later the authorities catch up to the pair; Homan escapes into the woods, Lynnie is taken back to the institution, and Martha is left with the newborn baby that the two hid in her attic. The book then chronicles the next forty years in the lives of the characters as they try to find their way back to each other while the world changes around them.
This book is beautifully written and it provides an insightful window into the inner lives of the disabled. I thought the author did a good job switching points of view between the various characters, although I wanted to read more about baby Julia and her life with Martha. I thought the ending was a bit too neat and some of the characters a bit too starkly bad or good, but generally I enjoyed this book.