Friday, July 18, 2008

Miss Spitfire: reaching Helen Keller by Sarah Miller

I have had an obsession with Helen Keller and Laura Bridgman since I was a little girl. For those of you who don't know, Laura Bridgman was the pre-Helen Keller. She was famous before Helen Keller, was blind, deaf, and mute just like her from a very young age and acquired language as well. But she was not very pretty or even-tempered as she grew up, so she was not quite the showcase for the Perkins School, but she paved the way for the next generation of blind, deaf, and mute learners like Helen Keller.

Miss Spitfire is the story of Helen Keller from the beginning of Helen's education from her teacher, Annie Sullivan's point of view. Much like the famous movie, The Miracle Worker, it includes all the famous scenes with the doll, the locking in the room, the antics of learning to use a napkin in the dining room, and of course, the culminating scene by the water pump. But because this novel was researched using Annie Sullivan's letters, each chapter is started with an inspiring and insightful words from the letters. It is a wonderful fictional biography that has filled my obsession nicely.

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