Breathing Room

by Marsha Hayles
First sentence: “Father jerked the car to the side of the road and stopped.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Content: There are some unsettling moments and a couple of characters die. The book would be in the middle grade (grades 3-5) section of the bookstore if we had it.

I know I’m not supposed to start a post like this, but: I wasn’t terribly thrilled about reading a book about a girl with tuberculosis in the 1940s. The main character, Evvy, is shipped off to a sanatorium because she has TB and her family hopes she can be cured. And it was surprisingly engaging and actually kind of gripping. I’ve not read many sick kids books (tending toward the cancer end of them), but I was fascinated not only by the treatments used in the 1940s, but just the general mood of the book. Evvy wanted to get better, and her body was fighting her, so there was that conflict. There was a camaraderie between the girls in the ward, but they were sick, so things that were outside of their control constantly interfered in their lives. It made for a very good story.

I was also fascinated by the historical pictures that the author put at the beginning of every chapter, as well as the small details she included in the book. It wasn’t anything that slowed the story down, but it added an extra layer to the story that I didn’t expect.

It really was a good read, and one I’m glad I did.

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2 thoughts on “Breathing Room

  1. If you enjoyed this, you might enjoy “Small Steps,” by Peg Kehret. It was on the WAW list several years ago and I found it very interesting, as you did the reviewed book. She had written several kids books before writing this.

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