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The Story of My Life: The Restored Classic, Complete and Unabridged, Centennial Edition Hardcover – May 5, 2003
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As a young girl Keller was obstinate, prone to fits of violence, and seething with rage at her inability to express herself. But at the age of 7 this wild child was transformed when, at the urging of Alexander Graham Bell, Anne Sullivan became her teacher, an event she declares "the most important day I remember in all my life." (Sullivan herself had once been blind, but partially recovered her sight after a series of operations.) In a memorable passage, Keller writes of the day "Teacher" led her to a stream and repeatedly spelled out the letters w-a-t-e-r on one of her hands while pouring water over the other. This method proved a revelation: "That living world awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free! There were barriers still, it is true, but barriers that could in time be swept away." And, indeed, most of them were.
In her lovingly crafted and deeply perceptive autobiography, Keller's joyous spirit is most vividly expressed in her connection to nature:
Indeed, everything that could hum, or buzz, or sing, or bloom, had a part in my education.... Few know what joy it is to feel the roses pressing softly into the hand, or the beautiful motion of the lilies as they sway in the morning breeze. Sometimes I caught an insect in the flower I was plucking, and I felt the faint noise of a pair of wings rubbed together in a sudden terror....
The idea of feeling rather than hearing a sound, or of admiring a flower's motion rather than its color, evokes a strong visceral sensation in the reader, giving The Story of My Life a subtle power and beauty. Keller's celebration of discovery becomes our own. In the end, this blind and deaf woman succeeds in sharpening our eyes and ears to the beauty of the world. --Shawn Carkonen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
It's explaned in the book that she wants to act as "normal" as possible, so that's why she describes things in color, or describes what she "saw," even though she doesn't remember any colors and can't see anything. She wants to describe them in the most "normal" way possible.
She also talks about how difficult it was to take college classes without any accomidations for disabilities. For example, she relied on her professors to learn the manuel alphabet and voluntarily give one-on-one instruction on their own time, and she was responsible for getting her own braille text books. But I was impressed with how much she was able to learn, through the help of dedicated individuals. (English, French, German, Latin, all as college prep before entering Radcliff. That's more than I'll ever know!)
Her letters show the progression of her language and writing ability from her very first letter. I was really amazed at her words and especially her spelling at such a young age.
It's really a story of hope, of how anyone can learn.
It is a wonderful story to read, especially so because it is told BY them and not as interpreted by a third-party biographer.
Unfortunately, Helen's eloquence and the prose of the day can border on the flowery side (to be it mildly) which made me unable to push through as quickly as I might have otherwise.
But then again, that's the beauty of her success story: it WASN'T too good to be true!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book came better than advertised and the story is written in a captivating way.Published 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
She was apparently a fine woman, very strong ... she also met many famous folks, such as Mark Twain ... llucky ladyd ... dealt with severe disabilities like a champion!Published 1 month ago by mycrossfire