Breathing Room

Author: Marsha Hayles
256 Pages
Published: June 5, 2012

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 Stars

Description from Amazon:

Evvy Hoffmeister is thirteen years old when her family brings her to Loon Lake Sanatorium to get cured of tuberculosis (TB). Evvy is frightened by her new surroundings; the rules to abide are harsh and the nurses equally rigid. But Evvy soon falls into step with the other girls in her ward. There’s Sarah, quiet but thoughtful; Pearl, who adores Hollywood glamour; and Dina, whose harshness conceals a deep strength. Together, the girls brave the difficult daily routines. Set in 1940 at a time of political unrest throughout the U.S. and Europe, this thought-provoking novel sheds light on a much-feared worldwide illness. Hundreds of thousands of people died each year of TB, and many ill children were sent away to sanatoriums to hopefully recover.

Kim’s Review:

This book was a simple narrative about a little girl who has active tuberculosis and goes to a sanatorium to rest and recuperate and to keep from spreading the disease. I liked the perspective of thirteen-year-old Evvy (pronounced like Chevy). She’s a sweet girl whose life is thrown upside down by her condition, she doesn’t even get to keep her stuffed bear with her in the sanatorium because of germs.

However, she moves from the scared little girl, ripped from her parents and twin brother to a mature teenager who is willing to sacrifice for her friends. And the heartbreaking journey of the patients of the sanatorium hit me right in the gut! I decided to ask Ivan about Evvy’s chart (yes there are pictures in this book! YAY!!) and his prognosis was not good. I did my senior college thesis on a local TB hospital back in Greenville, SC, so I knew a little about the stays of patients at these types of institutions.

Tuberculosis is a scary disease and my heart went out to these people. This is not an action-packed book, there isn’t any mystery or crazy drama. I would recommend this to history teachers, and they should absolutely have this book on their shelves, or to anyone looking for an easy, historical read.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK