Oh, sometimes you read a bit and it hits a bit close to home. Cleo Porter and the Body Electric is one such book. Imagine a world wide pandemic and countries take the ultimate step of isolating individuals and their families. Now imagine that a medical emergency happens. How would you handle it? Follow along with Cleo’s response.
Learning about Cleo Porter
Jake Burt has postulated the question: What would happen if you were isolated physically in a locked building after a global pandemic? What would happen if you knew someone needed help and only you could help them? Cleo Porter and the Body Electric helps us answer those questions. Jake Burt, a grade five teacher and author, uses humour, wisdom, and a plucky character to bring this story to life for his readers.
This middle-school, science fiction read takes place over 288 pages and is published by Feiwel and Friends. I am reviewing this adventurous chapter book on behalf of Raincoast books. Humour, folk wisdom, fear, determination, and a surprise twist round out this story.
From the Cover
In a future forever changed by a pandemic, a girl survives in total isolation.
A woman is dying. Cleo Porter has her medicine. And no way to deliver it.
Like everyone else, twelve-year-old Cleo and her parents are sealed in an apartment without windows or doors. They never leave. They never get visitors. Their food is dropped off by drones. So they’re safe. Safe from the disease that nearly wiped humans from the earth. Safe from everything. The trade-off?
They’re alone. Thus, when they receive a package clearly meant for someone else – a package containing a substance critical for a stranger’s survival – Cleo is stuck. As a surgeon-in-training, she knows the clock is ticking. But people don’t leave their units.
Not ever. Until now.
What you get
In this illustrated edition you’ll fid the occasional image. Not a whole lot, but the ones you find help to showcase the story.
You’ll find well written prose with well-developed characters. The determination of Cleo shines forth. She makes mistakes and then recovers from them. It was so interesting watching Cleo having to think on her feet. You can really see her intelligence and compassion showing through in everything that she does.
Humour was scattered throughout, causing me to guffaw at unexpected moments. This had it’s benefits with a lad curious about what made me laugh. I’ll be passing this book along to him later for reading.
Should you get it?
The fact that this book is about the results of a pandemic and a world-wide response might hit too close to home for some readers. Cleo Porter and the Body Electric takes its time building, but once it gets going is fairly fast-paced. The issues of isolation are real as is the fear of being out in the world. It’s like issues in the world today, and for some young people it might be too real, and yet for others, due to how these issues are addressed, it might help it all make more sense.
I enjoyed the folk-wisdom of an older lady who talked about how she made the decisions that she did and how confusing it is to want to help when others let fear rule them. The ending was different than I expected which a delightful surprise. Overall I found Jake Burt’s novel to be well-balanced.