This is a very interesting read and a glimpse into the life of Helen Keller. She skips around a bit in telling her story, but I found it fascinating to read about all the famous people who helped her along her path.
Helen Keller (1880-1968) is a revered figure in American popular culture. Struck deaf and blind by illness at the age of 19 months, she still managed to get an education and become a writer and activist. Her story was further popularized by William Gibson's play "The Miracle Worker," which was also adapted for both film and television.
Keller's autobiography, "The Story of My Life," first appeared in installments in "Ladies' Home Journal" in 1902. This book is truly one of the great American autobiographies: an inspiring story of a courageous individual who overcame tremendous odds.
Keller writes about many things: her childhood in Alabama; her relationship with her beloved teacher, Anne Sullivan; her attendance at the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf in New York City; and meeting such eminent figures as Mark Twain. She especially stresses her love of literature, which she describes as "my Utopia."
Along the way are some fascinating details and profoundly moving passages. Her tribute to the Homer, the blind poet of ancient Greece, is particularly powerful. I also loved her interpretation of the biblical Book of Ruth: a story of "love which can rise above conflicting creeds and deep-seated racial prejudices."
I think that many will regard Keller's autobiography as a mere historical or sociological document. But I think the book deserves a place as a great work of literature, and moreover as a work of literature in the great American tradition. Keller's poetic, often sensuous words about the natural world are comparable to the work of Emily Dickinson. And her stirring account of her revelatory awareness of language reminds me of Frederick Douglass' account of his first awareness of the power of literacy. The book as a whole is enhanced by Keller's charming, likeable literary style.
"The Story of My Life" is a wonderful book by an amazing individual. Helen Keller still has, I believe, much to say to contemporary audiences.
Fine book, with chapters that stand as fine essays. Helen Keller describes her life and in doing so displays her attitude that made her such an inspiration. She also reveals a wonderful attachment to nature, a sense of humor that is honest and ironic, and expresses love that we often have trouble showing in our every day world. Fast read, gentle to the mind, and made me smile.