The Story of My Life by Helen Keller

The Story of My Life book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Download The Story of My Life Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Critical Overview

(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

Written when Keller was only twenty-two years old, The Story of My Life reviews the author’s early life. Critics were, and continue to be, impressed with the presentation of the story as well as with the inspiring content. Because Keller was a celebrity in her day, the autobiography caught the attention of readers and reviewers, who found the book satisfying and heartening. First published in 1903, the book is still in print. Some school teachers use the book as a way to teach perseverance and the importance of education, and instill a deeper appreciation of and compassion for the physically challenged.

Critics praise The Story of My Life as a book with a message. Keller showing that obstacles can be overcome, whether they are physical or social, continues to resonate with readers. In a review for Booklist, Nancy McCray praised a sound recording of the autobiography because ‘‘the tenacity of the deaf and blind woman is revealed.’’ Critics such as Diane Schuur of Time further noted that Keller, in general, is a writer who speaks the ‘‘language of the sighted.’’ Schuur added, ‘‘She proved how language could liberate the blind and the deaf. . . . With language, Keller, who could not hear and could not see, proved she could communicate in the world of sight and sound—and was able to speak to it and live in it.’’

While Keller’s contemporaries almost unanimously praised the book, some of them raised concerns about the validity of the authorship. They believed that perhaps Sullivan and Macy actually wrote the book instead of Keller. Those who knew Keller personally found such doubts ridiculous...

(The entire section is 407 words.)