Elevate Difference

Beyond the Miracle Worker: The Remarkable Life of Anne Sullivan Macy and Her Extraordinary Friendship with Helen Keller

As a child, I was very intrigued by the life and story of Helen Keller. Though she was deaf, blind, and initially mute, she went on to live a full life: graduating college and publishing books. While Helen Keller’s remarkable story has served as an inspiration to us all, there is an even more remarkable story in her teacher Anne Sullivan Macy.

I did not know much about Macy aside from her being the person who opened up Keller’s world and became her life-long companion. I had no knowledge of the years before meeting Keller, the circumstances that brought Macy into Keller’s life, and Macy’s personal life. Nielsen has written a biography that finally does Macy justice, allowing us into world to show us the woman she truly was.

The life story of Anne Sullivan Macy is that of a woman who came from poor beginnings. Her poor eyesight plagued her most of her life and was a constant ailment in her later years, though she never outwardly complained. Macy lived in Helen Keller’s shadow for so many years, so it is hard to imagine that Macy had her autonomy. It was great to read a biography that focuses on Macy’s life.

Growing up in poverty, it is great to see how Macy’s strong spirit prevails through all of the hardships she endured. Nielsen has written a very humanizing story, one that gives Macy the limelight, when she depended on Helen Keller for so much of her life. Nielsen also does not attempt to fictionalize any part of the biography, but instead tells the reader when she does not have information in a certain time frame. Overall, I found Beyond the Miracle Worker to be a very inspirational one of a woman who has been widely overlooked in history and literature.

Written by: Adrione N. Council, November 18th 2009

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