Friday, November 20, 2009

Keeping Keller by Tracy Winegar
In the 1950’s mental handicaps were supposed to be hidden away, neither seen nor heard about. So, when Beverly and her husband Warren give birth to an abnormal child. They must decide if they will send him to an institution or keep him. Beverly struggles daily to keep Keller under control. He is getting bigger, and stronger, and often throws tantrums and fits when his schedule is disrupted. She manages well enough, until one day Keller throws a fit and accidentally hurts her. Warren is determined to send to the boy to an institution where he can’t hurt anyone. Beverly is torn with grief, and together they must make a decision to keep Keller or to let him go.
One of my most favorite things about this book was how well the time period was portrayed. It caught the tone and spirit of the fifties without ever info-dumping or becoming a huge historical saga. The history floats in the back ground while the characters and their challenges really shine. It also brought to light the mistreatment that people with disabilities faced in that time period. I also really loved how the author showed the ups and downs of living with an Autistic child, though in the book Keller is misdiagnosed as retarded. There were some really bad days, but the author also intersperses these down times with moments of happiness, joy, and humor. I love the scene where Beverly has too search through the cracker-jack boxes in the grocery store to find Keller’s elephant toy. At times I got annoyed with Beverly snapping at people, but overall she is a likable character and you root for her, Keller, and Warren to be a happy family all the way through. I would really recommend this one.
Tracy Winegar’s website has really fun resources for book clubs on her website. She has food recipes, 50’s invitations, and discussion questions.
Go check it out at:
She blog's here:

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