Wednesday, July 22, 2015

River Runs Deep

23309804Bradbury, Jennifer. River Runs Deep
July 21st 2015 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
ARC from Baker and Taylor

In 1842, young Elias is sent to Dr. Croghan in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, where the doctor's innovative treatments are supposed to cure his consumption. Since his father died of the ailment, Elias' mother is desperate enough to send him all the way from Virginia to live there. In small huts within the cave, the patients are kept quiet and fed restrictive diets in hope that the damp air and underground spring might effect a cure. Elias isn't happy with inactivity, and soon makes friends or a variety of patients, as well as some of the Negroes working for Dr. Croghan. Elias receives an injured carrier pigeon from Pennyrile, a mysterious patient who is not allowed to talk, and raises it. In his wanderings with Stephen, who works for Dr. Croghan, he finds that there is more going on in the caves than recuperation and the odd tourist visit.
Strengths: Interesting historical time and place to write about, interesting tie-in with other parts of history, and good descriptions of tuberculosis treatment at the time. Definitely one to pair with Invincible Microbe, and a bit more exciting than most tuberculosis stories. (And there are more of those than one would think!)
Weaknesses: Elias' immediate friendship with the Negro boys is a bit of a stretch, and readers who aren't well-versed in the history of tuberculosis treatment might need more background in order to understand this.
What I really think: I adored Bradbury's Shift, Wrapped, and A Moment Comes, but didn't connect with this one quite as much.

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