Shannon's Reviews > Deadly

Deadly by Julie Chibbaro
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Mar 19, 2011

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bookshelves: bekah, youngadult
Read in March, 2011

Deadly was a good follow up to The Power of One, my previous read. Where The Power of One was epic and took me a few weeks to read, Deadly's scope was confined to less than a year and I read it in less than a day. Yet Deadly was enjoyable, interesting and, perhaps, most valuable to me, a read that is challenging enough for my daughters with absolutely no objectionable content.

Deadly is written in diary format by sixteen year old Prudence Galewski. Prudence is a second generation Jewish American living in New York City in 1906. Her interest in science - and anything requiring deep thought - is looked down upon by her teachers and classmates at Miss Browning's Finishing School. Yet Prudence finds a job with an epidemiologist studying a recent typhoid outbreak. Prudence's drawings accompany entries scattered through the book, adding an interesting element to her story-telling.

Prudence is likable and - in sharp contrast to so many young heroines in today's fiction - far more interesting in things of the mind than romance. She lives during a time when a woman's options for careers were severely limited, yet she doesn't let that stop her - or change who she is.

I've already encouraged my nine year old to give this book a try. I think she'll enjoy the look at medical knowledge from a century ago and will marvel (as I did) at how the things that we now consider basic knowledge were often new, sometimes unproven, discoveries then. I was surprised that this book was classified by my library as young adult rather than juvenile fiction. That normally indicates a more mature content, but unless your young reader is disturbed by scientific processes and discoveries, I can't imagine why this book wouldn't be suitable. The vocabulary and concepts may be challenging in a few places, but that's always a good thing from my parenting viewpoint.

So if you're interested in a quick look at turn of the 20th century New York, the progress of medicine during that time, or the story of a girl learning to reconcile her emotions with her thoughts, Deadly is a great read. It won't take much of your time, but will leave you grateful for the vast array of medical knowledge available today - and glad to have spent a bit of time in Prudence's world.
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