Anne Sullivan Macy's work with Helen Keller is certainly ground breaking. A survivor of paternal abuse, abandonment in a poorhouse with her terminally ill brother and a nearly-lifelong battle with trachoma all hardened Ms. Macy's armor. She was so bright and determined that she made a good academic showing at the Perkins Institute for the Blind and it was through this noted institution that she was assigned to work with Helen Keller, who suffered the dual challenges of being blind and deaf.
One admires her gritty determination; she survives the poor house, which was a genuine Chamber of Horrors; she survives being relegated there with her terminally ill brother as no other relatives were willing to take her in; she survives the painful loss of her brother and the subsequent losses of others she came to know in the poor house.
This is a good starter book and provides interesting information about Anne Sullivan Macy's life. The one drawback is that it does get stuck at the water pump where Helen learned, from Ms. Macy's constant spelling into her hand that all things have a name. This "watershed" landmark in Helen Keller's life is, in her words, "her soul's birthday." Helen, then nearly 7, learned at the now famous water pump that all things can be identified by name. For her, that singular lesson served as her lifelong key to communication.
I admit, I do get rather tired of that water pump scene because many otherwise good works seem to get stuck there. Many books that cover Helen Keller, this one included, languish at the water pump and with what little speed the book has left gives scant attention to the many accomplishments these women made and their indelible stamp on history.