Of Better Blood is a different kind of read–not a feel-good read for certain. It is a fictionalized account of what happens when prejudices and preconceived notions of who is useful in society and who is not lead to actions that are never justifiable.
I struggled getting into this book. The first third of the books hops back and forth in time. The transitions weren’t quite as seamless as I would have liked and as compared to other books that employ this type of loop timeline. The language is quite plain and the descriptions are not as vivid as I would have expected given the subject matter.
The main character, Rowan, is a highly likable character. She is courageous, a critical thinker, and unselfish. She is the hero multiple times in the book and by the end you are rooting for her to get everything she desires. Dorchy, her sidekick, is also a lovable character. Little bit rogue, whole lot of brave, Dorchy becomes the underdog character you find yourself cheering for.
This book deals with some tough subject matter. The concepts of eliminating or segregating those that are unfit was certainly a well-known concept during the time period of the early twentieth century. Eugenics, while never a widely accepted division of science, was nonetheless a public one and endorsed by many famous people of the day. Due to the subject matter, I would recommend young teens wait on this one, and older teens should read with a critical mind. This book is well suited for a group discussion read.
Overall, a middle of the road read but fodder for in-depth critical discussions on ethics and morality.
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Albert Whitman & Co.
Language: 9 mild obscenities; 1 derogatory name.
Violence/Gore: Teen drops fake baby in play; man pretends to slap woman in play; child punches an adult; man runs into a bramble resulting in thorn injuries; child slaps another child; man slaps girl in face and twists arm; child hits head during seizure resulting in bloody wound; adults raps a child on the head with their knuckles; adult tries to stab child with needle; house fire where characters narrowly escape; pictures of dead children found; children cough blood or have bloody noses while ill (5 times with 1 extended scene);
Sex/Nudity: Teens hold hands once; adult caresses girls knee, innuendo (twice); mention of adult kissing child, innuendo.
Mature Subject Matter:
Eugenics, death of family members and children, contemplated suicide, euthanasia, medical experimentation on children without consent, forced sterilization, abandonment of children by parents, stealing, ethics.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Adult actor portrays drinking whiskey; adult smokes pipe; teen smokes; adults drink wine at dinner.