Friday, April 1, 2011

Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller by Sarah Miller

Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller
This is a novel about Annie Sullivan and told from her POV, the woman who taught Helen Keller how to communicate. Being deaf, myself, I was eager to read this. However, I was disappointed...

Here's why:
The entire novel is a young Helen and she is like an unruly monkey being trained. She's a very unattractive character and though I have no doubt she was really like that before she could communicate (I mean imagine being deaf and blind and not know words.) I thought it was a bit much at times. Annie literally has to train her like a dog, offering cake instead of Milk Bones.

Seems the entire novel is Annie and Helen fighting, fighting, fighting, wrestling, fighting. In this version, Ms. Sullivan goes a bit far... Helen is more demon than child and a coddled by her incredibly dumb overindulgent parents and she DOES need very firm hand, but this is too much: "I grab my own folded napkin and clap it over Helen's mouth and nose. My promise to Mrs. Keller flashes through my mind, but I lay it aside. Unless I actually smother Helen, I won't be hurting her."

And Annie is disturbing. I think she has some issues that need dissecting by a good shrink. She is a woman of twenty that likes to rock and cuddle dolls and her intense desire for affection from Helen struck me as weird, inappropriate, and sometimes made me feel dirty. "My breath comes faster at the feel of her fingers against my cheek...... A shudder runs through me as Helen slides from my legs. The place where she sat feels blank. It's an ugly sensation."

My last issue: Everyone talked over Helen's head like she was not there. As a deaf person, I do not like nor appreciate people taking advantage of the fact that I cannot hear by speaking over my head or behind me. 

I also felt this just ripped off a movie. This is has mostly high ratings, but it just didn't work for me. Two stars and I bought this on Amazon Kindle.

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