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Julie Dewey is a novelist residing in Central New York with her family. Julie selects book topics that are little known nuggets of U.S. history and sheds light on them so that the reader not only gets an intriguing storyline but learns a little something too.
Julie's daughter is a Nashville crooner and her son is a student. Her husband's blue eyes had her at hello and her motto is, "Life is too short to be Little!"
In addition to reading, researching, and writing, Julie has many hobbies that include jewelry design, decorating, walking her favorite four legged friends, Wells and Hershey, and spending time with her triplet nephews.
Her works include Forgetting Tabitha: the Story of an Orphan Train Rider, The Back Building, One Thousand Porches, The Other Side of the Fence, and Cat (the Livin' Large Series). To follow Julie visit www.juliedewey.com and sign up to get regular updates and reading guides.
I usually spend a bit of time considering any given title before accepting it for review, but I bypassed that step with One Thousand Porches. I didn't do so intentionally or anything, it just sort of played out like that scene in Jerry Maguire. Author Julie Dewey was throwing me a wonderful pitch and all I could think was "you had me at TB sanitarium." True story folks, you can ask her.
Now tuberculosis is pretty common fair in the world of historic fiction. Off the top of my head, the disease claims Ruby Gillis in L. M. Montgomery's Anne of the Island, Harriet in Caroline B. Cooney's Out of Time, Fantine in Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, Bessy in North and South, and Helen Burns in Jane Eyre. Most authors use it as a plot device, but Dewey actually created an entire story around it, detailing both the physical and mental toll it wrought on the infected and the effort to bring those individuals relief prior to the discovery of streptomycin. In short, Dewey gives a face to the disease and offers readers a deeper understanding of its unpredictable and fickle nature.
The thing I love most about this piece is that Dewey tells it through the eyes of several characters, individuals who either live at or are related to residents of the Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium at Saranac Lake. It is true that multiple points of view can be confusing, but I think this is one of those rare cases in which the format actually enhanced the telling. There are a lot of misconceptions about tuberculosis and seeing the different strains of the disease affect people from various walks of life both, directly and indirectly, gave One Thousand Porches a really well-rounded and complete feel.Read more ›
This book didn't immediately "grab" me. I find that's true of many books. I get through 20% of the book, and ask myself, "Why am I wasting my time on this? I'm not particularly enjoying it," and I close the book, never to open it again.
At the 20% point, I asked myself why I was reading the book, and told myself "Well, it's not *that* bad" and I kept reading out of inertia, and because I didn't want to open another book on me "to read" pile, only to find it to be far worse. The thing is, as I get father and farther along in an unsatisfactory book, I am more and more likely to trash it and move on. As I got deeper and deeper into this book, however, I grew more and more enrapt, and when I reached the end, I wished there were another dozen chapters to read.
The cover says it's a novel, but it appears to be a historical novel, and I'd like to read the autobiography of the founder of the Sans. The story says one person in seven died of tuberculosis at that time, and lungers were shunned, which makes this book highly relevant as we flit from one threat of pandemic to another. Worldwide, since the 1980s, there have been 5,000 who have died of Ebola, including one, count 'em, one, one on US soil, which means an American is more likely to have been married by Kim Kardashian than die of Ebola. More than 5000 people die of Lassa, another hemorrhagic fever, every year. But people in Saranac didn't fret about the "white plague", and those with TB were free to shop in stores, dine in restaurants, etc., with nobody batting an eye. One in seven is a LOT of people dying!Read more ›
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Julie Dewey's novel, "One Thousand Porches" really held my interest on several different levels. Having lived in upstate New York for a time, I could easily relate to descriptions of the bracing climate and small town life in the Adirondack Mountains. My family history identifies a great-aunt, living in New York, who died in her early teens, of what was then called "consumption".
The very frightening polio epidemic of the 50's touched our family thru the illness and life-long resulting handicaps of one of my aunts and of my paternal grandmother. My elementary school participated in the trials of Jonas Salk's polio vaccine and I vividly remember the speculation as to whether I got the actual vaccine or was in the placebo group. As a six year old, I also recall watching all of my toys and dolls being bagged and disposed of because a child who came to our house was diagnosed with polio a few weeks after playing with my things.
Ms Dewey skillfully recreates the prevailing climate of fear, and clearly describes the obstacles that had to be overcome while coping with a little understood communicable disease. I enjoyed the fact that she used the first person approach with her characters, affording the reader with multiple viewpoints. Additionally, she has done a thorough job of researching the science of Tuberculosis and I learned much more about the disease. The spirit of optimism shown by many of the patients was an inspiring thread that ran throughout the story line. I was given this book in exchange for an honest review, and I'm happy to recommend this well written novel.
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