Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Book Review: Cherry Ames Student Nurse by Helen Wells (Cherry Ames #1)

In Student Nurse, Cherry starts nursing school at Spencer with a mixture of anxiety and anticipation - would she have what it takes to be a nurse? She leaves her quiet town of Hilton, Illinois for the bustle of hospital life, to meet challenges she wouldn't have imagined. The U.S. is at war. Many nurses have gone to the front, and there is a shortage of RNs at Spencer-which Cherry and her classmates help to fill, as they learn the skills they need to graduate. And who is the mysterious patient in the secret room that no one seems to know anything about? Should Cherry risk expulsion to save his life?

My Review:
This feels like a poor rip off of the Sue Barton series which I really enjoyed.

Firstly the characters in this book are copies of Sue's class. Gwen is Kit, Ann is Connie, Bertha is Hilda (yeah calling the fat girl Bertha is original!), Vivian is a hybrid of Willie/Francesca and Jim Clayton who keeps swooping to the rescue is Bill. Cherry, however is much less mature than Sue, which makes her feel more like a child than an adult.

However the big difference from Sue Barton is the way the characters are used. Sue needs her friends and leans on them for help, and Kit and Connie get their own storylines. They are important to Sue and the plot. Sadly, Cherry's friends are just there to keep reminding her how wonderful and talented and pretty she is, which gets pretty annoying. The Vivian plot in particular seems to be there just so Cherry can solve the girl's identity crisis and show how smart Cherry is. Ugh.

The actual plot gets a bit farcical at the end when Cherry the student nurse manages to save the life of the secret patient, a top US general, who is hidden in a room that says broom cupboard yet no cleaners ever find him. Yeah right. Hospitals just have a habit of tirning broom cupboards into hospital room/war room and leaving it unlocked for student nurses to wander into in the middle of the night. It is a more fanciful copy of Sue saving a life during the night but not nearly as believable.

The other thing I found really annoying is the propoganda through the book. It was the 'you girls must be nurses to be patriots' as that is the only way to be useful in the war. There is a ton of sexism in the way the doctors treat the nurses but I can ignore that as the book was written years back and things were different then.

The story is simply written but seems to want to promote a glamorous life for nurses to get as many girl readers signing up to be one. Me, I'll stick with Sue Barton! 
star rating photo: Two Star Rating 2stars.png

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