the story of my life

title: The Story of My Life

author: Helen Keller

genre: Non-fiction, biography, education and life of Helen Keller

dates read: July 2nd – July 6th

review: 5 out of 5 stars

summary: Helen Keller (1880-1968) shares the first 22 years of her life, the darkness and silence that encased her life after an illness that almost took her life at 19 months old.  She was spoiled and willful but knew she was loved.  A few months before her 7th birthday Annie Sullivan became her teacher and through her love and persistence, Helen came out of the solitude and began to discover the wonderful world around her.  She tells of her travels and the many people she meets: Dr. Alexander Bell, Samuel Clemons, and the president, to name a few.  During her Sophomore year of college at Radcliffe she wrote her life story for the Ladies Home Journal, where the first half of this book was first published.  The last half consists of the many letters she writes from 1887-1901.

personal thoughts:  What an incredible story!  I was constantly amazed at the positive attitude and wonderful brightness that Helen exuded in her writings.  She liked to talk about things she saw and heard and I can only imagine how much Annie Sullivan worked to ensure she had a good enough picture to share those sensory experiences.  I was also amazed at how many people she met and the delight with which she lived.  I don’t want to assume that her lack of sight and hearing means that her life experiences were any less than mine, but it was still amazing to see how joyfully she lived.  Beautiful and inspiring, I recommend this read.

favorite quotes:
“It is with a kind of fear that I begin to write the history of my life. I have, as it were, a superstitious hesitation in lifting the veil that clings about my childhood like a golden mist.” p. 1

“a look is often the very soul of what one says.” p. 21

“It is an unspeakable boon to me to be able to speak in winged words that need no interpretation.” p. 42

“I used to have time to think, to reflect, my mind and I. We would sit together of an evening and listen to the inner melodies of the spirit, which one hears only in leisure moments when the words of some loved poet touch a deep, sweet chord in the soul that until then had been silent.” p. 69

“In a thousand ways [my friends] have turned my limitations into beautiful privileges, and enabled me to walk serene and happy in the shadow cast by my deprivation.” p. 101

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