‘The Story of a Beautiful Girl’: Love among the disturbed and forgotten

‘The Story of a Beautiful Girl’: Love among the disturbed and forgotten

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The dedication is fair warning: Rachel Simon’s “The Story of Beautiful Girl” is for “those who were put away,” for the generations of people with disabilities who for many years were locked in institutions, away from families, out of sight of society and, in some cases, far away from basic human decency. In short, this novel is the author’s gift to those who never had a chance to speak for themselves. And so, from the start, we know what’s coming: a work of fiction committed to confronting a deeply disturbing truth.


Part love story, part mystery, part social commentary, the tale begins with “the night that would change everything,” an event that triggers the 40-year epic to come. For just a few moments, during a raging storm, four people cross paths, the strands of their lives twisting into a mysterious knot, bound by a promise. Lynnie, a mentally disabled woman who does not speak, is caught and taken back to the state institution from which she escaped. Homan, a deaf African American man, continues running, plunging through the woods, desperate to elude capture. And meanwhile, a newborn baby sleeps in the attic of a widow who wonders how she will keep this infant safe.

From here, the plot unfolds across the decades, covering so much ground that readers may wonder at the improbable twists of fate that befall these characters. Heart-wrenching moments abound, sometimes weighted with overly earnest insights. But there’s an alluring mystery to solve and impossible odds to overcome, which propel the story forward.

As Homan wonders whether he will ever again see Lynnie, whom he calls Beautiful Girl, he tries to make sense of the sad and confusing events they have endured: “Maybe when you’re making your way forward into your life, it just looks higgledy-piggledy, the way, if you were a fly walking across one of Beautiful Girl’s drawings, all you’d be able to see was green, then blue, then yellow. Only if you got in the air . . . would you see the colors belonged to a big drawing, with the green for this part of the picture, the blue and yellow for others, every color being just where it was meant to be. Could that be what life was?”

For her part, Lynnie often longs for Homan’s return: “As every day passed, she felt herself growing numb. Her legs did not want to move . . . and she knew it was from the wanting.”

The real mystery of this book lies not so much in the plot twists — Will Lynnie and Homan ever reunite? Will baby Julia ever discover her true identity? — but right here, inside the heads of its characters: How does someone like Homan or Lynnie, living with mental disability, experience and think about life? Simon addresses that question with compassion and heart, informed by her experience with her own sister, who has an intellectual disability. Readers are likely to emerge from “The Story of Beautiful Girl” with a new level of empathy for those who were once hidden away — and for all those living with a disability.


Film, also called movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a visual art-form used to simulate experiences that communicate ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty, or atmosphere through the use of moving images. These images are generally accompanied by sound, and more rarely, other sensory stimulations.[1] The word “cinema”, short for cinematography, is often used to refer to filmmaking and the film industry, and to the art form that is the result of it.
Streaming media is multimedia that is constantly received by and presented to an end-user while being delivered by a provider. The verb to stream refers to the process of delivering or obtaining media in this manner.[clarification needed] Streaming refers to the delivery method of the medium, rather than the medium itself. Distinguishing delivery method from the media distributed applies specifically to telecommunications networks, as most of the delivery systems are either inherently streaming (e.g. radio, television, streaming apps) or inherently non-streaming (e.g. books, video cassettes, audio CDs). There are challenges with streaming content on the Internet. For example, users whose Internet connection lacks sufficient bandwidth may experience stops, lags, or slow buffering of the content. And users lacking compatible hardware or software systems may be unable to stream certain content.
Live streaming is the delivery of Internet content in real-time much as live television broadcasts content over the airwaves via a television signal. Live internet streaming requires a form of source media (e.g. a video camera, an audio interface, screen capture software), an encoder to digitize the content, a media publisher, and a content delivery network to distribute and deliver the content. Live streaming does not need to be recorded at the origination point, although it frequently is.
Streaming is an alternative to file downloading, a process in which the end-user obtains the entire file for the content before watching or listening to it. Through streaming, an end-user can use their media player to start playing digital video or digital audio content before the entire file has been transmitted. The term “streaming media” can apply to media other than video and audio, such as live closed captioning, ticker tape, and real-time text, which are all considered “streaming text”.
Copyright is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the exclusive right to make copies of a creative work, usually for a limited time.[1][2][3][4][5] The creative work may be in a literary, artistic, educational, or musical form. Copyright is intended to protect the original expression of an idea in the form of a creative work, but not the idea itself.[6][7][8] A copyright is subject to limitations based on public interest considerations, such as the fair use doctrine in the United States.
Some jurisdictions require “fixing” copyrighted works in a tangible form. It is often shared among multiple authors, each of whom holds a set of rights to use or license the work, and who are commonly referred to as rights holders.[citation needed][9][10][11][12] These rights frequently include reproduction, control over derivative works, distribution, public performance, and moral rights such as attribution.[13]
Copyrights can be granted by public law and are in that case considered “territorial rights”. This means that copyrights granted by the law of a certain state, do not extend beyond the territory of that specific jurisdiction. Copyrights of this type vary by country; many countries, and sometimes a large group of countries, have made agreements with other countries on procedures applicable when works “cross” national borders or national rights are inconsistent.[14]
Typically, the public law duration of a copyright expires 50 to 100 years after the creator dies, depending on the jurisdiction. Some countries require certain copyright formalities[5] to establishing copyright, others recognize copyright in any completed work, without a formal registration.
It is widely believed that copyrights are a must to foster cultural diversity and creativity. However, Parc argues that contrary to prevailing beliefs, imitation and copying do not restrict cultural creativity or diversity but in fact support them further. This argument has been supported by many examples such as Millet and Van Gogh, Picasso, Manet, and Monet, etc.[15]
Credit (from Latin credit, “(he/she/it) believes”) is the trust which allows one party to provide money or resources to another party wherein the second party does not reimburse the first party immediately (thereby generating a debt), but promises either to repay or return those resources (or other materials of equal value) at a later date.[1] In other words, credit is a method of making reciprocity formal, legally enforceable, and extensible to a large group of unrelated people.
The resources provided may be financial (e.g. granting a loan), or they may consist of goods or services (e.g. consumer credit). Credit encompasses any form of deferred payment.[2] Credit is extended by a creditor, also known as a lender, to a debtor, also known as a borrower.

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