What Is Visible

What Is Visible

Book - 2014
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With Laura-by turns mischievous, temperamental, and witty-as the book's primary narrator, the fascinating kaleidoscope of characters includes the founder of Perkins Institute, Samuel Gridley Howe, with whom she was in love; his wife, the glamorous Julia Ward Howe, a renowned writer, abolitionist, and suffragist; Laura's beloved teacher, who married a missionary and died insane from syphilis; an Irish orphan with whom Laura had a tumultuous affair; Annie Sullivan; and even the young Helen Keller. At age two, Laura Bridgman lost four of her five senses to scarlet fever. At age seven, she was taken to Perkins Institute in Boston to determine if a child so terribly afflicted could be taught. At age twelve, Charles Dickens declared her his prime interest for visiting America. And by age twenty, she was considered the nineteenth century's second most famous woman, having mastered language and charmed the world with her brilliance. Not since The Diving Bell and the Butterfly has a book proven so profoundly moving in illuminating the challenges of living in a completely unique inner world.
Publisher: New York : Twelve, 2014
Edition: First Edition
ISBN: 9781455528967
Branch Call Number: FICTION ELKIN...K
Characteristics: 307 pages : illustration ; 24 cm


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ontherideau Apr 20, 2015

Laura's imagined romantic life detracted from the interest in this story.
Suitable for teens and book groups.

ChristchurchLib Jul 24, 2014

After a bout of scarlet fever deprives two-year-old Laura Bridgman of four of her five senses, she finds an unlikely advocate in Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, founder of the Perkins Institute. Under Dr. Howe's tutelage, Laura learns to communicate with her hands, becoming a celebrity in the process. But communication is not the same as connection. Despite her fame - even Charles Dickens writes an essay about her - Laura struggles with loneliness and feelings of abandonment as important people in her life come and go, many using her to further their own agendas. Although the real-life Laura Bridgman was born decades before the more famous Helen Keller, fans of the latter's memoir, The Story of My Life, will want to read this moving novel about a woman who succeeded on her own terms and challenged conventional beliefs concerning what was possible for individuals with disabilities.
Historical Fiction July 2014 Newsletter.


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