Sarah's Stars

Pamela Oldfield. My Story: The Great Plague 
Scholastic  $7.99  ISBN 978-0-545-98547-5  157 pg.
Reviewed by Anika, Age 11

If tokens appear on her skin there is no hope for her. I stared at him, chilled from head to toe with a fear like nothing I have ever known. I tried to speak but the words eluded me. I felt dizzy and had to sit down. He said the house must be shut down so we do not go out and infect others.

"Not the plague!" I whispered, when I at last found my voice. " 'Tis the spotted fever, surely?"

Welcome to the world of Alice Paynton.  She lives in London, England, in 1665. The bubonic plague is ripping through her grand city, and no one is safe from it, not even those of high class. When the worst comes to her dear Aunt Nell, she is shut-up in her own home, simply a prisoner. With little determination, Alice takes over all of the housework. Things stay clean, but with her father and servant, Maggie, gone, they are running low on money. With a few people visiting through open windows, she tries to keep her dog in and her spirits up. Both attempts are quickly failing. Alice wants her Aunt to survive, but sees she can do very little. When Alice decides to seek safety in the nearby country town of Woolwich, she finds that she has more courage in her than she originally thought.

If you enjoyed reading this book, you may also like reading The Hunger by Carol Drinkwater and Workhouse, also by Pamela Oldfield. They are all part of a large series called My Story. I would recommend this book for people who know what some English terms are, and are okay with reading about death. I think that this book would be best for ages ten and older. Pamela Oldfield has written many other books, including many historical fictions.

This historical fiction book started a bit slow, but immediately turned into a compelling diary of a normal fourteen-year-old girl. The way it is written brings out London life and feeling. A peek into Alice's life is a good way of telling the story, because you get the things that happen, and her thoughts all in one book. The things that take place are all well explained and characters never do random actions. However, the characters lack feelings, with the exception of Alice. It evens things out enough so you can find your bearings in between exciting bits, and they (the exciting bits) aren't rushed together in a giant blob. At the end is a historical note about the plague, along with pictures and writings from the time.

The Great Plague is a good book that I would recommend to my friends, and I give it full four stars out of five.  


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