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A Critical Review And Analysis Of "Plague '99" By Jean Ure

773 words - 4 pages

"Plague 99" by Jean UreCritical ResponseI've just finished reading a book by Jean Ure called "Plague 99". It takes place in London 1999, and is the story of three school children called Fran, Shahid and Harriet as London is terrorized by a terrible and deadly plague for which there is no cure.It all starts with Fran coming home from a camp, which is designed to test people's ability to survive with absolutely no contact with the outside world. When she comes home she finds that the streets are almost totally empty in London and that there are barricades on the roads to the part of London that she lives in. This is her first problem: getting home through the barricades. She manages to get through them by crawling through the basement window of an abandoned house. When she gets home she finds both her parent's dead, and a note left for her by her mum. The note explains that at the time of writing she was already dying from the disease and that Fran's father was ...view middle of the document...

This is her second problem: getting to Harry's safely. She luckily makes it only to find that Harry's mother has also died and that Harry's loss seems to have affected her mind. She now seems much more childish and hyperactive. She is obviously living in denial and besides that is starving. She however ignores the fact that she is wasting away and insists that she is "slimming". She can occasionally be quite clear and sensible, but sometimes she seems almost dangerous. They then decide to go back to Fran's, as there is food there. This is Fran's third problem: getting back to her house. Along the way they are harassed by a gang of youths looking to steal food. Harry then threatens to stab them with a kitchen knife when Shahid, who was passing by, intercedes. Shahid is someone you don't know very much about before the Plague. He has a very lethargic and sarcastic personality. He has, like Harry, learned to blank out the deaths in his family members although is still perfectly sane. The rest of the book is then about the three of them trying to get to Shahid's brother's Food Emporium. On the way there they are faced with more problems. Shahid catches the plague and miraculously recovers as Fran nurses him back to health. Harry's eccentricity gets the better of her and she wanders off during the night and isn't seen again for the duration of the book. They eventually make it to Shahid's brother's Food Emporium only to find it's been raided by starving Plague victims for food. They then manage to escape London, as the soldiers barricading the roads are also dead.Throughout the whole book, the underlying theme has been Survival. They have been faced with a series of problems and obstacles that they must overcome to survive. It is especially so for Fran as her personality before the Plague was very insecure and she used to rely on other people a lot, especially her parents and Harry. With them gone she has to become more self-reliant otherwise she won't survive very long.I found this book gritty, atmospheric and quite emotional. The character's personalities were all perfect for their roles, although I can't quite imagine how Fran and Harry became friends, as they are so completely different. On the whole a deep and compelling read. Well recommended for anyone with a strong stomach!

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