Helen Keller had an illness at 19 months old that left her deaf and blind. This book, written when she was 22, and at college, is an account of how she has lived her life and came to be at college. It was published in 1903. It’s the story of how she has flourished, against the odds, with the help of an great teacher.
There’s no doubt that Helen Keller is a certified bad ass. She graduated from college when not many woman did, and she did it all as a blind and deaf person (the first to hold a Bachelor of arts degree). She went on to be a campaigner and activist.
A member of the Socialist Party of America and the Industrial Workers of the World, she campaigned for women’s suffrage, labor rights, socialism, antimilitarism, and other similar causes.
Having said that, you could have knocked a third off this book and it still been really fascinating. Later parts are a string of mini book reviews from her studies and accounts of all the famous people she has met.
A lot of it is written in very flowery language; lot of smells and feelings, but clearly that’s how she experiences the world and so is totally fine. She describes brilliantly how she felt before she could communicate effectively, and how utterly amazingly life changing her teacher, Anne Sullivan, was. Incidentally, I didn’t realise Anne was also blind! I only realised this when I just looked up her wikipedia entry to check her name.
An interesting short (but still too long) read. 🙂
And I read the whole thing with this song on repeat in my head: