Beheaded, Survived

(1987) by Barbara Williams

More of a pre-teen read, but I definitely liked it.  The main character, Jane, is pulled along on a tour of England by her older sister Courtney, and is inhibited by fear of others finding out about her diabetes.  It is interesting to read it now in 2008 and see what advances they’ve made in diabetes care.  In this book the characters speak of hope of a cure within 4 years, too bad that did not come true.

The narrative of their tour also gives a list of interesting books and authors from England.  (For example, A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver, about Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Murder in the Cathedral, about the assassination of Thomas Becket).  The descriptions of the landscape left me wanting, but that’s not really what the book is about. As Kay E. Vandergrift, Rutgers University, states on “The title, the maps, and the references to historic works lead readers to believe that the setting will be far more important to this story than it is.  It fails to integrate completely contemporary problems with the background of historic sites of Old England as promised.

Jane’s relationship with troubled Lowell happens very fast without much development but is still nice.  The voices of the characters belied their ages sometimes, but that is easy to ignore to enjoy the story.


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