THE DEVIL'S PAINTBOX by Victoria McKernan

THE DEVIL'S PAINTBOX

Age Range: 14 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A wagon train west looks good to the Lynch kids, who have been eating dirt after the death of the rest of their family at their Kansas soddy home. Aiden, at 15 barely a man, feels the overwhelming burden of responsibility for 13-year-old Maddy. The trip west brings no immediate release from peril, but in a restful moment a group of Nez Perce, who are so comfortable in the environment that he finally relaxes, befriends Aiden. As tragedy continues to strike and Aiden begins to function as an adult, the cumulative pain and sorrow reveal their toll. Aiden becomes a paid fighter at a logging camp in the Northwest, where Tupic, his Nez Perce friend, comes to him; Tupic’s intent on obtaining smallpox vaccine for his tribe, leaving this unlikely duo struggling against immense odds. Nothing is pretty, not even the prostitutes plying their trade, and nothing easy, as the hatred and racism of the day are revealed. Viscerally painted, in this narrative smallpox is never as frightening as the greed and hatred, nor are the love and dignity of a few so admirable. (Historical fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Jan. 13th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-375-83750-0
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2008




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