So this is one of the books I acquired from ALA….and right off the bat…I loved the cover. It is what caught my eye and made me very excited to read. I was lucky enough to have met the author, Kim Van Alkemade at ALA. Such a lovely lady!
But back to the book…it was such a
good GREAT read! At first I was a little skeptical but it started throwing me these slight twists that kept me going. This book is about a woman, Rachel Rabinowitz, who at four years old was placed into the Hebrew Infant Home following her mother’s tragic death. Rachel was then selected to be one of many subjects for medical experiments. The reason behind using orphans as subjects is because you are able o control every part of their lives without dealing with parental consent.
The way the book is set up is every chapter alternates between the present (Rachel as a nurse) and the past (Rachel as the 4-year-old orphan.) You get a sense of how Rachel came to be who she is now with those chapters of the past.
Rachel works as a nurse at the Old Hebrew’s Home, where a new patient arrives…Dr. Mildred Solomon, the one who put her through those experiments as a child. Rachel is torn between making Dr. Solomon answer for her actions and letting it go.
After the experiments were over, Rachel was moved to the older children’s home where she was ridiculed for her baldness (a side effect of the experiments.) She reunites with her older brother who seems to be having his own struggle of living in the home. Slowly Rachel is able to find friends and even works as a nurse’s assistant for a short while.
It was a unique experience being able to see how Rachel’s past confront her present. This story blends historical fiction and a child’s coming of age well. I highly recommend this!