Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Helen Keller in Love

Finished Helen Keller in Love by Rosie Sultan. It's 1916 and Helen is in her mid-thirties, touring the Midwest with Annie Sullivan, her teacher and companion, speaking out against the possibility of the U.S. entering The Great War. Helen receives letters from mothers, wives and sisters of German soldiers blinded in the war, begging her for her help. Helen and Annie are always giving away their meager income to those in need, often leaving themselves destitute. The traveling has taken a toll on Annie, who is now ill with what is feared to be TB. Annie cables her estranged journalist husband asking him to send someone to them to act as secretary to Helen while Annie rests. He sends Peter Fagan. Peter knows how to finger spell and begins working for Helen immediately. The two become fast friends and eventually lovers. Annie and Helen's family see Peter as an opportunist, out to ride on the tails of Helen's fame, but Helen ignores their suspiscions. This is a sensitively imagined, unrecorded chapter in Keller's story. It reminded me a bit of The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, filling in a personal gap in a much admired woman's life.

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