Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Death-Struck Year.

Lucier, Makiia.  A Death-Struck Year.  Houghton Mifflin     2014  279p  $17.99  ISBN 978-0-544-16450-5      ms/hs  Historical fiction      VG-BN

From the security of her privileged private school, Cleo Berry reads about people dying of Spanish influenza in faraway cities like Philadelphia and New York.  It seems inconceivable that the pandemic will reach Portland, Oregon.  Then cases start being reported, and schools, churches, and theaters are shut down.  Cleo escapes to her home, only to find her guardians away.  She is on her own for the duration.

Unable to stand by and do nothing, seventeen-year-old Cleo volunteers to become a driver/nurse for the Red Cross.  She finds herself reaching out to care for strangers, and also falling in love with Edmund, a medic and war veteran.  Although Cleo has been lucky so far, her luck cannot last forever
, and it is only a matter of time before she contracts the flu.  Will she live or die?  Portland will be very different with the many deaths caused by the Spanish influenza.  If she lives, what kind of changes will Cleo face in the aftermath of the disease?

Summary: Cleo Barry rides out the Spanish influenza pandemic in Portland, Oregon, where she assists the Red Cross as a driver and nurse.  Solid research is evident in Lucier’s A Death-Struck Year, a story of the deadly Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. 
Illness-Fiction                                             --Hilary Welliver

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