Nancy's Reviews > It Happened at the Fair

It Happened at the Fair by Deeanne Gist
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Feb 07, 2013

liked it

The book details the Chicago World Fair and the society at the time. It's a good historical reference for reactions to the Industrial Revolution and the time period at the very beginning of the Great Depression. I wasn't as interested in the details of the exhibits although they set a tone by including the attendees reactions.

Cullen is suffering from a loss of hearing which seems to be getting worse when he meets Della, a teacher of lip reading to children. This was a nice twist to include Helen Keller's appearance at the World Fair as she was introduced into society as a contributing member. Also of interest was the way society viewed a person with any malady that set them apart from the norm. Deaf, blind, anxious, depressed, perhaps irritable bowels, or port wine stain would send a person to the asylum. Not Lindsay Lohan style but permanently. Sign language was not en vogue. In fact, the rage was to pretend deafness did not exist and teach lip reading alone. Children were sequestered for years without visits home to learn lip reading exclusively. Understandably, Cullen did not want to go deaf but if he did, he certainly did not want to end up in the asylum.

The book covers a time period that is at the cusp of forward-thinking. Machinery is making an appearance and inspires awe in the attendees. Automatic anything attracts interest if it can be proven which is Cullen's quandary.

The love story is predictable but sweet. It's clean and gives the reader a glimpse of the Chicago World Fair and the enormity of the event which lasted 6 months and consisted of gigantic semi-permanent buildings with inventions that are common to us today.

I didn't love the book like I'd hoped. I was not as interested in the details of the World's Fair but I've been to a World Fair so maybe my own exposure took the excitement out of reading about the Chicago Fair. Still, it's a pleasant way to spend an evening.
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Reading Progress

February 7, 2013 – Shelved
Started Reading
August 7, 2013 – Shelved as: on-my-kindle
August 7, 2013 – Finished Reading

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