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What I hadn't realized was the level of resentment of Keller that's present in the disabled community. Because of her status as a paragon, virginal, selfless, uncomplaining, ever cheerful, she became nearly impossible for most people - regardless of ability - to live up to. It never occurred to me that disabled people were being told "why can't you be more like Helen Keller?

Deaf, blind and mighty: how Helen Keller learned to speak

Especially in this modern world where people are freer to speak their minds, where the disabled have more autonomy than before, why shouldn't they complain when things are hard for them? People complain when their latte is too hot; why shouldn't a person complain when they can't access basic necessities? Anyway, Blind Rage is written by one of the Keller-haters. Georgina Kleege is a writer and college professor, and is also blind. She grew up hearing the comparisons, never feeling that she measured up. She unleashed some of her hostility in a one sided correspondence with Helen.

As she did, she researched Keller's life. It wasn't an easy one. The more she read and the more she wrote, the more Kleege came to understand Helen. To empathize. She doesn't and won't let Keller off the hook for her contribution to the Helen Keller Mythos, but she develops an understanding of where it came from and why. There are wild leaps of conjecture, including the idea that Helen was most probably molested as a child. Kleege seems pretty convinced. I'm less so. Even with the disagreements, the writing is compelling.

I read the book in a day - couldn't go to sleep until I was done.

Blind Rage: Letters to Helen Keller by Georgina Kleege | LibraryThing

There's an urgency that just wouldn't let me go. Dec 28, Bart rated it it was ok. I extrapolate, I read between the lines, I out-and-out fictionalize" Some of the analysis - such as observations on biographers' needs to preserve Keller as virginal and soci "But now, I find myself spending endless hours speculating about the truth behind the facts of your life, wondering what really happened.

Some of the analysis - such as observations on biographers' needs to preserve Keller as virginal and societal acceptance of Kellers' writings as "true" - is interesting. However, reading analysis on speculations, some of which have little founding, was tedious, as was the prose, most of which Kleege writes in second person. Sep 05, Jennifer Anderson rated it really liked it. I thought it was a great, thought-provoking book. A bit slow at times for me, anyway , but overall I loved the read!

It made me realize to what extent I myself had been forced to pass as a fully sighted person throughout my childhood. Not being allowed to hold my hand out in front of me so I wouldn't bump into things, being told to watch where I was going a little hard for a legally blind person , and then not being taught to use a cane all made it seem like it was "better to look sighted". As I thought it was a great, thought-provoking book.

As I gained more independence I found it easier to use a white cane, etc and the problem was forgotten about - but this book made me think about things completely differently. Aug 26, Pam rated it liked it. It took a little while to get used to the idea that someone would needle Helen Keller - which is the point - she's such an icon and "national treasure" that she was never allowed to be human - at least in the public eye. Georgina Kleege has done a good job of illustrating what irked her about the fairy tale of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan.

I hope to read some of the sources Kleege cites as my curiosity has been piqued about the situations Keller dealt with. Aug 09, Mia rated it really liked it Shelves: nonfiction , read A book that uses the conceit of correspondences between the author and HK to examine the latter's mythos and the problems it presents for the former as a contemporary blind woman.

I want lots more people to read this. Apr 15, Michele rated it it was ok Shelves: disability-rights. The first half was better than the second half. An OK book, not fabulous. May 14, Emily Michael rated it it was amazing. There aren't enough stars!!!!! This book is warm, engaging, and powerful. Kleege's treatment of Keller is personal but not saccharine. I loved this reading so much!

Aug 02, Prashansa rated it liked it. Kayla Weathers rated it liked it Sep 29, Eric Stein rated it it was ok Jul 26, Kayamore rated it really liked it Jan 06, Kathleen rated it really liked it Feb 10, She was taken away from the couple only a few days after her birth. A lactation nurse felt that the couple was unfit to care for the child when Johnson, the young mom, fumbled at her initial attempt to nurse her baby.


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After two months, she has finally been returned to Johnson and Sinnett. Now, breast-feeding is no longer an option, the couple has been robbed of precious time with their new daughter and they are pursuing legal action. Sighted and visually impaired parents from around the country rallied to support the couple. Kansas City moms expressed their outrage on this parenting blog. These mothers wonder why the lactation nurse did not offer some guidance for the year-old mom. This is, after all, the purpose of a lactation consult in the obstetrics ward.

Blind Rage: Letters to Helen Keller

A few years ago, similar snap judgments were made by hospital staff in the Bay Area. The trouble started when the blind mom in this case requested that a neonatal nurse pay a couple of house calls after the family went home, to ensure that the new baby showed no signs of jaundice. Instead of replying to this accomodation, hospital staff called county officials, who then demanded that the couple sign paperwork to give up custody of the child. Margie Donovan, blindness advocate and LightHouse board member, stepped in to assist the couple in asserting their rights.


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Listen to the NPR story here. By increasing the burden of proof on the parent who raises disability as an issue, rights of disabled parents are protected and unnecessary litigation is avoided.

Kleege, Georgina 1956-

The items that I am most excited to access from the archive are the audio recordings of Keller's voice. Although finger-spelling was Keller's primary mode of communication, she did learn to speak orally. She felt it was an important way to reach a wider audience. She regretted that she did not receive speech training earlier in her life because she knew that her speech was not readily comprehensible.

Disability Visibility Project: Cathy Kudlick and Georgina Kleege

Audio recordings reveal that while Keller's enunciation is not always clear, she made the most of nonverbal elements—intonation and pitch—to make herself understandable. At the time, her atypical voice seemed at odds with what I knew about Keller from school, and I found it uncanny, even disturbing. Now, having researched Keller's life and written a book about her, I have a different understanding of her speech.

As a blind person, people's voices are fundamental to my feelings about them. So it will be great to have this digital connection to someone I never met personally, but nevertheless played a big role in my life. Skip to content.