cover image An Exposure of the Heart

An Exposure of the Heart

Rebecca Busselle. W. W. Norton & Company, $18.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-393-02547-7

Wassaic, an institution for the developmentally disabled, is the subject of this personal documentary by freelance photographer Busselle, who spent a year as an observer at the upstate New York facility. As she found herself becoming more than an objective recorder of the lives of the outcasts of society, she writes that she faced her ambivalence, found parallels in her own family relationships and became active in making more visible in the community those who have been ``put away.'' Particularly poignant is the author's growing relationship with 12-year-old Emily, who has a mental age of three and pines for affection. Busselle does not set out to find villains in state institutionalization programs, some caretakers being more adept than others. She does, however, articulate with feeling the mystery of human suffering. Literary Guild selection. (Feb.)