Rebecca's Reviews > Sue Barton, Visiting Nurse

Sue Barton, Visiting Nurse by Helen Dore Boylston
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's review
Feb 10, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: favorites, books-i-own
Read in February, 2009 , read count: 6

This is probably one of my favorite of the books. I read some of the comments that complain about the technical aspects of the book and the explanations of nursing procedure (as it was in the '30s, at least). But I found it fascinating, and I enjoyed reading about the difficulties of implementing techniques in places that weren't designed for them. Of course, again, lots of it is outdated (newspapers are sterile? Really? Because I've delivered papers and they are filthy), and some of the things are actually kind of shocking. The constance used of "colored," for instance, although it was used as the proper term of the time and not to be insulting. Some of the stereotypes she used were pretty blatant, but you have to kind of take them for what they were meant to be and move on.

I do have a couple of caveats with her writing in general, which are really jumping out at me this time. One is her switching of POV. She mostly stays in Sue's POV, but every once in awhile a narrator will jump in to add a comment, and then jump out. It drives me crazy when we're going along and all of a sudden the narrator will add "In the future, this would cause," or add something that Sue had no way of knowing or wouldn't think. If we're going to go with a 3rd person limited, then I should only know what that person knows when they know it, so the extraneous information and commentary is very jarring and out of place.

She also tends to set up plot points by dropping hints the size of anvils. her idea of a hint or foreshadowing is to hit you in the face with a sledgehammer, which takes you out of the story. Only for a second, but then you have to get back in, and that's a speed bump you really don't need.
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