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An American classic rediscovered by each generation, The Story of My Life is Helen Keller’s account of her triumph over deafness and blindness. Popularized by the stage play and movie The Miracle Worker, Keller’s story has become a symbol of hope for people all over the world.

This book–published when Keller was only twenty-two–portrays the wild child who is locked in the dark and silent prison of her own body. With an extraordinary immediacy, Keller reveals her frustrations and rage, and takes the reader on the unforgettable journey of her education and breakthroughs into the world of communication. From the moment Keller recognizes the word “water” when her teacher finger-spells the letters, we share her triumph as “that living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free!” An unparalleled chronicle of courage, The Story of My Life remains startlingly fresh and vital more than a century after its first publication, a timeless testament to an indomitable will.


From the Paperback edition.
Published: Random House Publishing Group an imprint of Random House Publishing Group on
ISBN: 9780553902051
List price: $3.99
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This book is about the life of Helen Keller. The book starts when Helen is a child. Helen describes herself as stubborn and angry. She lived in a world of dark for a few years of her life. Helen talks about the years before and after Annie Sullivan, her teacher arrive. The story continues to show how Helen and Annie worked together to accomplish the many learning skills that Helen learned. This book is inspirational and a great book to show to children that may or may not have disabilities.more
I became interested in reading Helen Keller's autobiography after seeing the original movie "The Miracle Worker", now one of my favourites. I was a bit sorry when all of that was dispensed with in the first four chapters, and discovered that Miss Keller's account hardly matches the movie version. I chalked up the difference to Hollywood invention - a bit disappointing. Helen relates her story up to her college years and is fairly lacklustre as far as biographies go. Mostly it's devoted to discoveries about the things she most grew to love. Highlights include famous people she met (Mark Twain being my favourite), and her surprising daring at trying things I wouldn't have expected - riding a bicycle and rowing a boat alone, for example.She was very descriptive throughout, almost poetic, which greatly impressed me. Then in Chapter Fourteen comes the poem she wrote and was accused of plagiarizing. She gives a convincing account of how this must have occurred subconsciously, and what a setback it was to suspect every thought she had as not being her own. It also cast my reading in a different light: how much of the descriptive detail I'd been admiring had she simply echoed? It earned my sympathy to read about this circumstance in which she could no longer trust her own imagination. Fortunately she found the confidence to pursue her dream of a college education, which is where her biography (written in her early twenties) draws to a close. While I admired her bravery, it wasn't a standout biography for me. Before I set it aside, I saw there were substantial appendices so I gave those a peek. The first was a collection of letters. While the content was fairly dull, it was remarkable how quickly she progressed in vocabulary and grammar. In the space of two years she went from discovering words to writing age-appropriate letters to her friends and family. After those, I discovered the real treasure: a retelling of her biography from the perspective of her teacher, Anne Sullivan. Its preface explains that Helen Keller had little memory of her life prior to being educated, nor could she convey an outside perspective of what her education had entailed. Miss Sullivan's account is an almost scene-for-scene description of what occurs in the movie - surprise! Then it goes well beyond that, relating Miss Keller's remarkable development from her teacher's viewpoint. This was the biography I'd imagined reading in the first place. I was hooked.I'm tempted to recommend others go straight to Anne Sullivan's account. But in hindsight I can say it's worth your time to read both sides (internal and external) for the full picture of this remarkable woman's experience in being awakened to the wonders of life and language.more
A wonderful book about a brilliant, loving young woman who just happened to be blind and deaf. When Helen was 19, she penned the following words in a letter: "The thought that my dear Heavenly Father is always near, giving me abundantly of all those things, which truly enrich life and make it sweet and beautiful, makes every deprivation seem of little moment compared with the countless blessings I enjoy."Anne Sullivan, her famous tutor, taught Helen at age 11 that "the best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen nor even touched, but just felt in the heart."more
I realised a couple years ago when I read Lies My Teacher Told Me that I really knew nothing about Helen Keller other than, well, basically what the summary above says. I didn't know that she was a disability rights advocat, or "a suffragist, a pacifist, an opponent of Woodrow Wilson, a radical socialist and a birth control supporter", to quote Wikipedia. So I thought I'd read up on her, and seeing she had written an autobiography, that seemed like the way to go. It's...really not. What I didn't realise, was that this was written when she was in college, so it doesn't talk about any of the awesome things she went on to do and is indeed just the same story I'd heard before. It's not a bad book, just not at all what I was looking for.more
At first I thought I was going to be disappointed, which surprised me, because I love every Helen Keller quote I come across. But the beginning paragraphs are of the typical, what I call "Genesis" kind. My father was so-and-so, my mother was so-and-so, I'm related to blah, blah and blah etc. And the narrator's voice can be a bit grating. But the language very quickly changed and the narrator's voice became more comfortable with familiarity.Helen Keller has possibly the most joyous and vividly beautiful approach to language that I have yet encountered. She was clearly a natural at PR from an early age; her affectionate, naïve and idealistic enthusiasm for "good works" brought tears to my eyes. I felt very chastened by the end. Despite regular references to her deprivations (perhaps a fraction overstressed), she retains a lilting and joyous outlook throughout. It made me realise the value of choosing to abstain from noxious literature; she is so filled with beauty that it is beauty she chooses to express in everything, including the letters which accompany the main book. This book is cause for serious moral reflection in the best possible way.more
this autobiography of Helen Keller is of interest, and some of the extra mateial in this book is of interest, but there are a lot of boring letters by Helen Keller which taxed my patience and added nothing of interest. The actual story of how she came to learn and actuaally graduated from Radcliffe is of interest and worth reading.more
This is an interesting look at Ms. Keller's young life - learning to communicate in a world where her blindness and deafness isolate her from just about everyone at first. Some of the passages don't seem as if they could be written by someone who was blind and deaf. Her descriptions of nature - particularly the sounds - seem improbable. Perhaps this was a result of her education - the ability to describe things for others that she didn't actually have firsthand experience with but only experience from Ms. Sullivan's descriptions. I certainly admire Ms. Keller's persistence and her keen mind. How many seeing and hearing people today master four languages by the time they have entered college??more
Written when Helen Keller was 22, "The Story of My Life" is about her life as a child and young lady. She was not born blind and deaf, but as a toddler suffered an illness that almost killed her and robbed her of her sight and hearing. Helen was seemingly unteachable and growing wilder each day until Helen's parents hired Anne Sullivan who was to become her beloved "Teacher". Helen became a proficient student, learning not only to read and write and speak, but also learning several languages eventually graduating from Radcliffe College. This is an extraordinary book about an extraordinary woman. The book is divided into two parts: Keller's autobiography and her letters. Her autobiography is written a bit flowery, but is interesting as she describes her early years and how she tried to communicate with people and her increasing frustration when they couldn't understand her. She writes about how Anne Sullivan finally got her to understand the word for "water" and how she quickly learned other words after that breakthrough. She tackles what was a very painful time in her young life when she was accused of plagiarizing a story when she was only 11 years old. She ends her autobiography by describing the things she loves in life: reading (books that she loves and her favorite authors), history, languages, the outdoors, sailing and visiting friends. As interesting as Keller's autobiography is, her letters reveal even more about her life. Printed in chronological order, starting when Helen was just 7 years old, the letters show how quickly her grammar and writing skills developed. In the autobiographical section of the book, it is easy to forget that Keller was deaf and blind as she writes about talking to people and things that she's seen. Her letters explain better how people communicated with her and even the toll it took on Anne Sullivan, who had continuous problems with her eyes. Her letters explain how she wrote letters using a special board and a regular pencil and how she was able to read people's lips and feel things in a museum to get an appreciation of art. Very interesting reading. My only complaint about this wonderful book is the editing. The book was first published in 1903 and has been in print ever since, but I wonder when it was last edited. There are notations that a footnote will follow but there is no footnote. There are mentions of people who were well known in Helen's time, but today's readers might not know how they were and footnotes should have been used to explain who they were, starting with Laura Bridgman who apparently was the inspiration for much of the education the young Helen got. Also, Helen raised money for the education of a blind and deaf boy, but there was no mention of what happened to him later in life. Editing aside, this is a wonderful, inspirational book and I highly recommend it.more
This "restored" edition has been reedited by Roger Shattuck to reflect more accurately its original compostiion, presenting Helen Keller's story in three successive accounts: Helen's own version; the letters of "teacher" Anne s"ullivan, shubmerged in the original; and thevaluable documentation frunished by their young assistant, John Marcy.Helen Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, in 1880. Before her second birhtday, a mysterious illness left her deaf and blind. She graduated with honors from Radcliffe College in 1904, on year fafter the initial publication of The Story Of My Life, and wa the author of thriteen books. She died in 1968. Roger Shattuck, author of Forbidden Knowledge and The Banquet Years, won the National Book Award for a work abot Marcel Proust. University Professor Emeritus at Boston University, Shattuck lives in Vermont. Dorothy Herrmann is the author of Helen Keller: A Life and of three other biographies. She lives in New Hope, Pennsylvania, and New York City.Jacket Design by Eleen Cheung Jacket Photograph by Library of Congress Printed in USAmore
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Reviews

This book is about the life of Helen Keller. The book starts when Helen is a child. Helen describes herself as stubborn and angry. She lived in a world of dark for a few years of her life. Helen talks about the years before and after Annie Sullivan, her teacher arrive. The story continues to show how Helen and Annie worked together to accomplish the many learning skills that Helen learned. This book is inspirational and a great book to show to children that may or may not have disabilities.more
I became interested in reading Helen Keller's autobiography after seeing the original movie "The Miracle Worker", now one of my favourites. I was a bit sorry when all of that was dispensed with in the first four chapters, and discovered that Miss Keller's account hardly matches the movie version. I chalked up the difference to Hollywood invention - a bit disappointing. Helen relates her story up to her college years and is fairly lacklustre as far as biographies go. Mostly it's devoted to discoveries about the things she most grew to love. Highlights include famous people she met (Mark Twain being my favourite), and her surprising daring at trying things I wouldn't have expected - riding a bicycle and rowing a boat alone, for example.She was very descriptive throughout, almost poetic, which greatly impressed me. Then in Chapter Fourteen comes the poem she wrote and was accused of plagiarizing. She gives a convincing account of how this must have occurred subconsciously, and what a setback it was to suspect every thought she had as not being her own. It also cast my reading in a different light: how much of the descriptive detail I'd been admiring had she simply echoed? It earned my sympathy to read about this circumstance in which she could no longer trust her own imagination. Fortunately she found the confidence to pursue her dream of a college education, which is where her biography (written in her early twenties) draws to a close. While I admired her bravery, it wasn't a standout biography for me. Before I set it aside, I saw there were substantial appendices so I gave those a peek. The first was a collection of letters. While the content was fairly dull, it was remarkable how quickly she progressed in vocabulary and grammar. In the space of two years she went from discovering words to writing age-appropriate letters to her friends and family. After those, I discovered the real treasure: a retelling of her biography from the perspective of her teacher, Anne Sullivan. Its preface explains that Helen Keller had little memory of her life prior to being educated, nor could she convey an outside perspective of what her education had entailed. Miss Sullivan's account is an almost scene-for-scene description of what occurs in the movie - surprise! Then it goes well beyond that, relating Miss Keller's remarkable development from her teacher's viewpoint. This was the biography I'd imagined reading in the first place. I was hooked.I'm tempted to recommend others go straight to Anne Sullivan's account. But in hindsight I can say it's worth your time to read both sides (internal and external) for the full picture of this remarkable woman's experience in being awakened to the wonders of life and language.more
A wonderful book about a brilliant, loving young woman who just happened to be blind and deaf. When Helen was 19, she penned the following words in a letter: "The thought that my dear Heavenly Father is always near, giving me abundantly of all those things, which truly enrich life and make it sweet and beautiful, makes every deprivation seem of little moment compared with the countless blessings I enjoy."Anne Sullivan, her famous tutor, taught Helen at age 11 that "the best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen nor even touched, but just felt in the heart."more
I realised a couple years ago when I read Lies My Teacher Told Me that I really knew nothing about Helen Keller other than, well, basically what the summary above says. I didn't know that she was a disability rights advocat, or "a suffragist, a pacifist, an opponent of Woodrow Wilson, a radical socialist and a birth control supporter", to quote Wikipedia. So I thought I'd read up on her, and seeing she had written an autobiography, that seemed like the way to go. It's...really not. What I didn't realise, was that this was written when she was in college, so it doesn't talk about any of the awesome things she went on to do and is indeed just the same story I'd heard before. It's not a bad book, just not at all what I was looking for.more
At first I thought I was going to be disappointed, which surprised me, because I love every Helen Keller quote I come across. But the beginning paragraphs are of the typical, what I call "Genesis" kind. My father was so-and-so, my mother was so-and-so, I'm related to blah, blah and blah etc. And the narrator's voice can be a bit grating. But the language very quickly changed and the narrator's voice became more comfortable with familiarity.Helen Keller has possibly the most joyous and vividly beautiful approach to language that I have yet encountered. She was clearly a natural at PR from an early age; her affectionate, naïve and idealistic enthusiasm for "good works" brought tears to my eyes. I felt very chastened by the end. Despite regular references to her deprivations (perhaps a fraction overstressed), she retains a lilting and joyous outlook throughout. It made me realise the value of choosing to abstain from noxious literature; she is so filled with beauty that it is beauty she chooses to express in everything, including the letters which accompany the main book. This book is cause for serious moral reflection in the best possible way.more
this autobiography of Helen Keller is of interest, and some of the extra mateial in this book is of interest, but there are a lot of boring letters by Helen Keller which taxed my patience and added nothing of interest. The actual story of how she came to learn and actuaally graduated from Radcliffe is of interest and worth reading.more
This is an interesting look at Ms. Keller's young life - learning to communicate in a world where her blindness and deafness isolate her from just about everyone at first. Some of the passages don't seem as if they could be written by someone who was blind and deaf. Her descriptions of nature - particularly the sounds - seem improbable. Perhaps this was a result of her education - the ability to describe things for others that she didn't actually have firsthand experience with but only experience from Ms. Sullivan's descriptions. I certainly admire Ms. Keller's persistence and her keen mind. How many seeing and hearing people today master four languages by the time they have entered college??more
Written when Helen Keller was 22, "The Story of My Life" is about her life as a child and young lady. She was not born blind and deaf, but as a toddler suffered an illness that almost killed her and robbed her of her sight and hearing. Helen was seemingly unteachable and growing wilder each day until Helen's parents hired Anne Sullivan who was to become her beloved "Teacher". Helen became a proficient student, learning not only to read and write and speak, but also learning several languages eventually graduating from Radcliffe College. This is an extraordinary book about an extraordinary woman. The book is divided into two parts: Keller's autobiography and her letters. Her autobiography is written a bit flowery, but is interesting as she describes her early years and how she tried to communicate with people and her increasing frustration when they couldn't understand her. She writes about how Anne Sullivan finally got her to understand the word for "water" and how she quickly learned other words after that breakthrough. She tackles what was a very painful time in her young life when she was accused of plagiarizing a story when she was only 11 years old. She ends her autobiography by describing the things she loves in life: reading (books that she loves and her favorite authors), history, languages, the outdoors, sailing and visiting friends. As interesting as Keller's autobiography is, her letters reveal even more about her life. Printed in chronological order, starting when Helen was just 7 years old, the letters show how quickly her grammar and writing skills developed. In the autobiographical section of the book, it is easy to forget that Keller was deaf and blind as she writes about talking to people and things that she's seen. Her letters explain better how people communicated with her and even the toll it took on Anne Sullivan, who had continuous problems with her eyes. Her letters explain how she wrote letters using a special board and a regular pencil and how she was able to read people's lips and feel things in a museum to get an appreciation of art. Very interesting reading. My only complaint about this wonderful book is the editing. The book was first published in 1903 and has been in print ever since, but I wonder when it was last edited. There are notations that a footnote will follow but there is no footnote. There are mentions of people who were well known in Helen's time, but today's readers might not know how they were and footnotes should have been used to explain who they were, starting with Laura Bridgman who apparently was the inspiration for much of the education the young Helen got. Also, Helen raised money for the education of a blind and deaf boy, but there was no mention of what happened to him later in life. Editing aside, this is a wonderful, inspirational book and I highly recommend it.more
This "restored" edition has been reedited by Roger Shattuck to reflect more accurately its original compostiion, presenting Helen Keller's story in three successive accounts: Helen's own version; the letters of "teacher" Anne s"ullivan, shubmerged in the original; and thevaluable documentation frunished by their young assistant, John Marcy.Helen Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, in 1880. Before her second birhtday, a mysterious illness left her deaf and blind. She graduated with honors from Radcliffe College in 1904, on year fafter the initial publication of The Story Of My Life, and wa the author of thriteen books. She died in 1968. Roger Shattuck, author of Forbidden Knowledge and The Banquet Years, won the National Book Award for a work abot Marcel Proust. University Professor Emeritus at Boston University, Shattuck lives in Vermont. Dorothy Herrmann is the author of Helen Keller: A Life and of three other biographies. She lives in New Hope, Pennsylvania, and New York City.Jacket Design by Eleen Cheung Jacket Photograph by Library of Congress Printed in USAmore
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