Monday, November 22, 2010

Prequel After Sequel

Last fall my first library order contained the book Comfort by Joyce Moyer Hostetter. I read it and loved it - set right after World War II in the South, it chronicles Ann Fay's struggle with polio as she recovers at FDR's polio hospital, Warm Springs. Her father is newly back from fighting in Europe and struggling with what he saw in combat. The whole family continues to grieve the death of Bobby, Ann Fay's four year old brother who died of polio.
I loved Comfort, which truly stands alone. But, when I found out that Blue told the story of Ann Fay before all that happens in Comfort, I quickly ordered a copy. And of course, it has sat around just waiting for me.
I loved Blue, too. Usually I really like to read things in order, but honestly, this novel can stand alone just as well as Comfort can.
Ann Fay and her family are living in the South in the 1944. Just as her father ships off to fight in World War II, a polio epidemic sweeps through Ann Fay's county. An emergency hospital opens up and unfortunately Bobby, Ann Fay's four year old brother is struck by polio. Ann Fay can't help but feel responsible. She is the one who pushed Bobby to work in the garden just before his collapse. When Ann Fay comes down with polio herself she is sent to a hospital where she is assigned a room with Imogene, an African American. For both girls, this is their first real friendship they have with someone whose skin is a different color than their own. And Ann Fay begins to see all the ways she and Imogene are alike despite their different appearance. Unfortunately the rest of the world is not quite ready to adopt Ann Fay and Imogene's ability to overlook skin color.

While the ending of this novel provides some resolution, I was happy to know how things continued in Comfort. Hostetter would make me quite happy if she chose to continue writing about Ann Fay and her family. I would love to check in on her again.

1 comment:

Gerbera Daisy Mom said...

I'll have to check this of the 4th grade teachers at our elem schoool did a "book club" with this book just last week.