An Acquaintance with Darkness (Great Episodes)

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9780152053871: An Acquaintance with Darkness (Great Episodes)

Fourteen-year-old Emily Pigbush suspects that her uncle is involved in body snatching. Meanwhile, her best friend's family is accused of plotting to kill Abraham Lincoln, and Emily is left unsure of whom she can trust. Includes a reader's guide.

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About the Author:

ANN RINALDI is an award-winning author best known for bringing history vividly to life. A self-made writer and newspaper columnist for twenty-one years, Ms. Rinaldi attributes her interest in history to her son, who enlisted her to take part in historical reenactments up and down the East Coast. She lives with her husband in central New Jersey. 

From School Library Journal:

Grade 7-9. Emily Pigbush, 14, is orphaned the day the Civil War ends. Against her dead mother's wishes, she moves in with her Uncle Valentine, a prominent Washington, DC, doctor. Emily soon learns that her guardian?for all his goodness and talent?is a grave robber, illegally acquiring bodies for dissection. Appalled at this discovery and at the deceptions her uncle's household subjects her to, she runs away. A change of heart brings her home as an active participant in furthering the cause of medicine. Emily's story plays out against Lincoln's assassination and its impact on her best friend, Annie Surratt, whose mother ran the boardinghouse where the conspirators met. The two stories are so unbalanced that each distracts from the other. In the end, Annie's predicament is far more involving and compelling than Emily's, and Annie comes across as the more interesting and realistic of the girls. Emily is selfish, silly, and unbelievably naive in comparison; in addition, her concerns are too neatly and quickly resolved. Also, next to Lincoln's death and the trial of his assassins, Uncle Valentine's body-snatching activities seem overwrought and exaggerated. The story lacks the immediacy and power of Cynthia DeFelice's The Apprenticeship of Lucas Whitaker (Farrar, 1996). Rinaldi's characters tend toward stereotypes, and she has serious problems with chronology. An Acquaintance with Darkness is mildly entertaining, but fails to connect with its audience in a meaningful way.?Ann W. Moore, Schenectady County Public Library, NY
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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