BOOK REVIEW: The Story of My Life
The book is an autobiography of Helen Keller, who is one of the most respected and internationally recognised visually impaired and deaf ladies, who struggled against all odds to educate herself.
Keller was born on June 27, 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama. She was rendered deaf and blind at 19 months of age, when she contracted an acute congestion of the stomach and the brain (perhaps Scarlet Fever or Meningitis). From then on, she struggled to communicate with others. As a child, she would often be frustrated and would go in a rage, as she failed to communicate with her family.
Eventually, after a lot of struggle, her parents find a teacher for her, Anne Sullivan, who goes on to change Keller’s entire life and teaches her how to communicate with her family and the outside world, without depending on anyone.
The Story of My Life is a heart rending story of the challenges Keller and her teacher Sullivan face to communicate with each other until Sullivan tries the method of finger-spelling the words on Keller’s hand. With this method, Keller gets a breakthrough into the world of communication. For the first time, Keller recognises the word ‘Water’ through this method, and as she goes on to describe it in her book, “that living word, awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free.” With the help of her teacher, Keller learns to read and write and speak in different languages, including learning braille.
Keller wrote this book as a student at the age of 22. The book is in the form of letters compiled from her early childhood to adulthood years, which she wrote to her family and friends, informing them about her struggles to educate herself as well as other events happening in her school and college. She engages the reader with her thoughts, emotions and opinions. Her determination, diligence and strength are displayed through her writing.
An enriching book which gives the reader an even deeper insight into the world of the blind and deaf people. A must read for everyone, across all ages.
Anisha Arora reviews this book for The Peeper Times