“Scary Spring: Our Polio Fright of 1955” by C. A. Hartnell is the retelling of some of the author’s experiences in 1955, especially her memories about people being afraid of polio. The main characters are eleven-year-old Carol Ann (the author) and her good friend Pete. The book talks about them going to school, playing with cousins, and enjoying the neighbor’s puppy named Hey Pup. At the end of the book Carol Ann gets very sick and everyone worries that it is polio.
The characters are likeable. Pete is a friend everyone would want to have. The kids play all the time, and it sounds like it would be a fun place to grow up with friends and relatives so close. Hey Pup belongs to the old crotchety neighbor who is crippled from polio. The kids fell in love with the puppy who kept escaping into Carol Ann’s yard. I fell in love with Hey Pup, too.
There really wasn’t much of a plot to the book. There were incredibly long descriptions of cars and outfits, and not just once but over and over. There was a little bit of information about the symptoms of polio, how people with polio can become crippled and the fact that a vaccine just became available. Mostly, though, it talked about how scared people were of polio. Carol Ann and her family are Christians, and there is a number of Bible verses repeated in the book.
“Scary Spring: Our Polio Fright of 1955” was kind of a slow read. I would recommend this book to people who want to get an idea of what life was like in 1955.