Thursday, 3 May 2012

Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller

Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen KellerAnnie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller by Joseph Lambert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a young girl, I loved to read about Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller, so maybe there's a bit of nostalgia in this graphic novel for me. Still, I learned new things about Annie and Helen, and the story is plotted in a new and original way.

The book nicely highlights the key points in both Annie's and Helen's lives, as well as gives some historical context to this era. It's a great introduction to these two people and can operate as a launching pad for further investigation and discussion.

The cover illustration makes the book appear as if it were for younger readers, but Helen's queries about the birds and the bees, and Annie's life in the poor house make it clear that the book is not for young children. As well, it is sometimes difficult to read the accompanying text: it's small and occasionally cursive.

That said, using the medium of a graphic novel allows the author to tell the story from both Annie's and Helen's points of view. Most of the book is shown as if the audience were watching Annie's life, but what makes the book so emotive is that is has some cells which show how Helen felt and perceived things. In addition, the book shows its readers the loneliness, intelligence and sheer will of both protagonists. They were two of a kind and by some miracle, they found each other.

Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller is a moving and enjoyable book to read and I recommend it highly.

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