HELEN KELLER by Laurie Lawlor


Rebellious Spirit
Age Range: 10 & up
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Helen Keller was a hero and an icon in her own age as well as in ours: she lost her sight and hearing at 19 months; she was brought into the world of language by a young and fiercely determined teacher; she went to college, supported herself, and published voluminously at a time when women could scarcely do those things at all, let alone as disabled women. The author uncovers much of the complexities of Keller’s life: the prickly personality of teacher Anne Sullivan; the relationship of Helen and Anne with Helen’s family and the culture of the deep South; how both her fame and her family conspired to keep Helen more as a symbol than as a person rich in personality and contradiction. But Keller was deeply involved in the suffragist movement, the philosophy of Swedenborg, and socialism. She raised money through work on the vaudeville stage as well as in the movies and through support from benefactors. Moreover, she once had a fiancé who seems to have really loved her, although her family broke them apart. Rich in contemporary photographs, this treatment makes a fascinating, living being out of the plaster saint, and though it is not quite so engaging as Joan Dash’s The World at Her Fingertips (2000), it will be welcomed by those ardent fans of its subject. (chronology, notes, bibliography) (Biography. 10+)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-8234-1588-0
Page count: 168pp
Publisher: Holiday House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2001


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