My Side of the Story: The Plague by Philip Wooderson (Published by Kingfisher, July 5, 2006)
The Plague is a book written in a rather unique style; it is actually more like two books in one. The first half of the book is told from the perspective of one character; then, in the second half of the book, the story continues from the point of view of the first character’s cousin. I really liked the idea, and wish I had ended up liking the actual book more.
The first part of this story is narrated by Rachel, a young girl living in London in 1665, at the time of the great plague that devastated the city. She had lived a rather comfortable, middle class life, as the daughter of a merchant. The plague changes all that, and in addition to her worries about whether she and her family will survive and escape the diseased city, she doesn’t know what happened to her cousin, Robert, who disappeared at the beginning of the story. The second half of the story is told by Robert who explains what happened to him and how he eventually reunites with Rachel and the rest of his family as the plague spreads to the countryside.
I have read and enjoyed several other books about the plague in London in 1665 - in particular I really enjoyed two others, At the Sign of the Sugared Plum by Mary Hooper, which is written for young adults, and The Great Plague by Pamela Oldfield, from the My Story series, which is for middle grade readers. So I had hoped I might really like this book as well. But the plot was rather weak and I think it might have been better if the book was just about the characters’ struggles to survive during the plague rather than adding in a poorly developed and not very interesting mystery. I think the narration was actually supposed to be a diary or memoir written by the main characters but it wasn’t entirely clear. In addition the details of the plague seemed a bit much for a middle grade novel and might disturb younger readers. I’m not really sure who I’d recommend this book to, maybe young adult readers who are extremely interested in the time period the story is set in and who are looking for a quick read. The Plague truly isn’t the most awful book, I've read worse, but it's not very good either, and there are just so many better books out there, including others about the same historical events.