Mental institutions were exposed for the unspeakable places they were in the 1970’s. The exposure led to the closing of most of these human warehouses and the development of education and community services for families and individuals with disabilities. Laws regarding guardianship and the basic rights of people with disabilities have also seen significant reform since that time. But in the 1950’s individuals could be locked away for the rest of their lives simply because they were not wanted or because families or society did not know what else to do with them. This is the touching story of two people who dared to fall in love and attempt escape from the abuse, monotony and squalid conditions in which they lived. Homan , known only as “Number 42,” was handsome, deaf and African American. Lynnie, known to Homan as “Beautiful Girl” was an artist who had a cognitive disability. Their escape led them to the home of Martha, a 70-year-old widowed and retired schoolteacher. Their stories separate and combine with the stories of those they touched over a 50-year period to tell a tale of loss, redemption, love and constancy. The author combines personal experience with extensive research, and gives us one of the few insightful pictures of this neglected subject. Readers who enjoy a good story about people and relationships will want to read The Story of Beautiful Girl.
Nov 18, 2012