The Baby Experiment, by Anne Dublin, is an excellent book for teens and young adults who want to learn more about Jewish life in 18th century Hamburg, Germany, seen through the eyes of fourteen year old Johanna.
Johanna is filled with discontent, and is on the verge of adulthood. She decides to take a job outside the home, much to her mother’s dismay. She changes her surname in order to get the job, because Jews were not looked upon kindly. All she has known in her Jewish world, she must stifle in order to work and in order to survive in a world that despises Jews.
She is hired, and works as a child care worker in an orphanage. Quickly she observes the babies in the orphanage are listless and dying off. She feels it is due to the lack of attention given them because of an experiment being done on them. She decides to flee, with one child, a child not her own.
She encounters much adversity in her travels, and is confronted with the plague, anti-Semites, robbers and thugs. She perseveres, and is quite determined.
The fact that the book is written from the perspective of a teen-aged girl will appeal to many teenagers and young adults. The book is well written, and is a story that I think teens and young adults will be able to relate to as far as those who are entering adulthood, and leaving childhood behind. It is also a relevant book on many levels, including the historical factor of 18th Century Germany.
I recommend The Baby Experiment, by Anne Dublin, and feel it belongs in public, high school and college libraries.