Rating: 5/5 stars
Length: 240 pages
Genres: Biography, Classics, Nonfiction, Autobiography, Historical, Inspirational, Disability
Publication date: May 1, 1990 (first published 1902)
It is with a kind of fear that I begin to write the history of my life. I have, as it were, a superstitious hesitation in lifting the veil that clings about my childhood like a golden mist.
(Ch 1, p. 1)
I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to reread this amazing story. As a child, Helen Heller was a bit of an inspiration to me. In fact, my copy of The Story of My Life is one of the most worn books I’ve ever owned. Yes part of that comes from the fact that my copy was published in 1980 and was first a library book, but more than that it was well loved and read many times over. My feelings on this book have not changed over the years.
Helen Keller is an inspiration. In a time when disabilities were looked down on more than they still are today, Keller managed to make something of herself. While it’s true that her station in life made it possible for her to have many of the chances she got throughout her lifetime, it’s clear that the majority of her success can be attributed to her determination to not let her handicap slow her down. No, she instead used her difference as a tool to push herself further and further.
More than anything, it’s refreshing to read how raw and honest Keller was in her writings about herself. Whereas most people would fill their autobiographies with the brighter parts of their lives – at least many of the ones I’ve read recently – Keller is honest about the tantrums she threw as a child and the trials and tribulations she went through. She opens up about her “plagiarism” scandal and the costs of the event, how after that she continued to be plagued with worries about the words she created. She’s even open about when her view of events differs from those around her, how she perceived these events in comparison.
Most of all, I admire Keller for her drive. Even though her life was filled with adversary, she pushed through. She worked hard to make her dreams a reality. If you haven’t read this fantastic tale yet, I highly recommend you do. I sure won’t be waiting as many years before picking it back up again.