Thursday, October 11, 2012

Breathing Room

Tuberculosis (TB) was a contagious disease several decades ago.  Evvy is thirteen years old, suffering from this disease when she is taken to the Loon Lake Sanitorium to recover.  She, like, the other residents there are confined to bed rest, discouraged from talking, encouraged to breathe cold air, and undergo various tests and procedures. 
Evvy misses her family- especially her twin brother, Abraham.  She looks forward to earning the privilege of receiving letters as her condition improves. Although strangers at first, Evvy's roommates soon become friends.  While some are released because they recover, others succumb to their illness, and everyone grieves. 
Set in 1940, the United States is full of war news and what is happening to Jews in Europe.  Evvy and Sarah are especially curious about this as Evvy is German and her friend Sarah is Jewish. 
Hayles chapters begin with photographs of various artificacts of this era, and Hayles herself grew up in Rochester, Minnesota, with a pediatricain father who worked at the Mayo Clinic. Her own experiences certainly help give this novel more depth and I loved Evvy and all the girls who became her friends in Loon Lake.

No comments: