An Acquaintance with Darkness

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An Acquaintance with Darkness by Ann Rinaldi

Ann Rinaldi has written a book that weaves history and fiction into a wonderful book, and this is why I have chosen this book. It covers some important parts of history and the reader sees it through the eyes of a thirteen old girl. The book is dark with intrigue and gross medical stuff, so students should love it. While the assignation and arrest of Mary Surratt is the major historical event around which the book is written, it is more about the state of medical science in the US at the end of the war and how it was impacted by the war. For instance, Rinaldi's author's note starts out focused on the history of medical dissections in the united states, and then goes on to describe its history in Europe. She then describes the history of hospitals, medical schools and medicine in the US. She doesn't turn towards the conspiracy to kill Lincoln till later. Emily's best friend is Annie Surratt, the daughter of Mary Surratt who was hung for her part in the conspiracy to murder Lincoln. Students will see this part of history through a different point of view, not just learning about it through their textbook. I also think students will relate with Emily, because she wants to see the good in everything. She wants to believe the world is a good place. She judges her Uncle for something she believes is horrible and doesn’t understand because of her young, innocent age. Then the reader sees her grow as into a young lady, where she isn’t so innocent anymore. Emily realizes the world isn’t perfect and she shouldn’t have judged her Uncle, because he was snatching dead bodies to help medical science and save more lives during a horrible time of war. At the end of Ann Rinaldi’s book, she has questions for teachers to discuss with their students. This will make it easy to have literature circles with students. This book relates to my content area because it is a historical fiction book. Ann Rinaldi has taken many facts from...
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