Kristen Boers's Reviews > The Children's Hospital

The Children's Hospital by Chris Adrian
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Aug 22, 07

Recommended for: Anyone who is a fan of literature.

One my my biggest gripes with modern fiction is that there are so few epic tales told in interesting ways. Say what you want about Stephen King, but I have never put down one of his books feeling bored or, worse, uninterested. One of the reasons I love the Harry Potter books is it's grand scope of story. The books I've been most attracted to recently are the ones that manage to tell a story in an interesting way. That's all. Not so hard, right? I read this book, The Children's Hospital, about four months ago. I liked it. After finishing "HP and the Deathly Hallows" I needed something else, something big, something that I wouldn't be able to just breeze though, something that was cheap (ie, I already owned it.) So, I picked up this 8 hundred something page book. Again.

And I am so glad I did. I cannot name a heroine in modern literature, in any literature, for that matter, as perfectly flawed as Jemma Claflin. As one of the last 1000 some old people on earth, and the unexpected savior of the all the sick children in the hospital of the title, Jemma succeeds as a person in spite of her flaws, but she is wonderful as a character because of them. She is seemingly distant, but cares about the strangest child in the joint, Pickie Beecher, who sips fresh blood from packets and speaks with a wisdom far beyond hhis years. Jemma is hesitant to take on a leadership role, but is sincerely compelled to do the right thing, from seeking out the stowaway Jarvis on her oft time, to acting against the makeshift government's orders in time of crisis. She misses her dead brother Calvin, worries for her boyfriend Rob, and in her spare time, remembers that she is, in fact, one of the last people on earth.

The book gets a little long, and in particular the flashback to Jemma and Calvin's Christmas experience with their self absorbed, but mostly well meaning parents is hard to get through the first couple of times, but is worth it for the joke about the Unity of Pony. But all flaw are so easily forgiven, due to the limitless ambition of story and character. Well done, Chris Adrian.
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