Amanda Shrum


Dependable, Intermediate, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Great Fire, Chicago, Diary, Mental Disability, Down Syndrome

Document Type

Book Review


Life takes a devastating turn for Pringle Rose when her parents are killed in an accident. Pringle and her brother Gideon are put under the guardianship of their cruel aunt and apathetic uncle who have no understanding of Gideon’s unique mental condition, which today would be diagnosed as Down syndrome. To avoid Gideon being sent to a school where abuse is likely, the two run away to Chicago to try and start a new life. On a very eventful train ride, the siblings are befriended by Gwen Pritchard and her three children. Gwen and her husband, Peter, ask Pringle to stay with them as a nursemaid and even pay Gideon to help out at Peter’s work. Pringle takes joy in her position and expands her view of union workers and strikes. Unfortunately, another member of the Pritchard family is revealed to have had a hand in Pringle’s parent’s deaths and Pringle leaves with her brother. The two narrowly escape the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, while the Pritchards may not have been so lucky.