Traverse City READS, a “One Book, One Community” literacy initiative is pleased to announce that The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon is the 2012 selection for Northern Michigan’s eleventh annual community book.
TC READS has designated May through October as reading months and TC READS events will culminate with an appearance by author, Rachel Simon at the City Opera House on October 30th.
Rachel Simon has authored six books and is a recognized public speaker on issues related to diversity and disability. Her bestselling titles include, The Story of Beautiful Girl and Riding The Bus with My Sister. Both are favorites of book clubs, and Simon's work has been adapted for theater and television. Hallmark Hall of Fame broadcast Riding The Bus With My Sister, which featured Rosie O' Donnell and Andie McDowell, and was directed by Anjelica Huston.
In 1968, Lynnie, a young white woman with a developmental disability, and Homan, an African American deaf man, are patients, locked away in an institution, the School for the Incurable and Feebleminded. They have been left to languish, forgotten. Deeply in love, they escape, and find brief refuge in the farmhouse of Martha, a retired schoolteacher and widow. But the couple is not alone; Lynnie has just given birth to a baby girl. When the authorities catch up to them that same night, Homan escapes into the darkness, and Lynnie is caught. But before she is forced back into the institution, she whispers two words to Martha: "Hide her." And so begins the 40-year epic journey of Lynnie, Homan, Martha, and baby Julia; lives divided by seemingly insurmountable obstacles, yet drawn together by a secret pact and extraordinary love.
Simon writes with compelling empathy for the plight of the disabled protagonists. James Conroy, a disability researcher and NPR contributor said, this “novel may capture the essence of a major social transformation”, the deinstitutionalization of mental patients in the 1980s. Because our community’s history intertwines with the Traverse City State Hospital, this book will provoke great discussions for TC READS participants.
TC READS celebrates the joys of reading and the common threads that unite us as a community by encouraging everyone to read and discuss one book. For further information on TC READS or The Story of Beautiful Girl and for upcoming events and reading group dates, visit www.tcreads.org.
TC READS is supported by generous gifts from the Friends of Traverse Area District Library and many local businesses and philanthropic individuals. TC READS operates as a 501c3 organization, under the wing of the Friends of TADL. For details on how to become a sponsor, please contact Ruth Bay at 231-947-1619.