Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Review: Helen's Eyes: A Photobiography of Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller's Teacher

Wow, that's a long title for such a slim book.

For years I've been fascinated by the life of Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan. They were a dynamic pair, and I think they always held my attention because they were a pair of women who lived their lives largely unaided by men - great role models for my young feminist self. Both women did marry, but they maintained a strong friendship and working relationship for almost fifty years.

This is a solid photobiography of Anne Sullivan's life, especially for younger readers who may know about Helen Keller but not so much about Anne Sullivan. There are lots of pictures, naturally, but they're not always the most compelling as the photography of Anne's lifetime didn't lend itself well to candid or action shots. The layout of the book is nice, though if you want to get the most of the photographs read it in a well lit area, as often they will layer sepia-toned photographs on top of each other, placing a letter or a picture of a house behind photos of Annie, Helen and other people in their lives. The sepia-on-sepia tones make it hard to see any details unless you're in direct light.
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