Read The Cure by Sonia Levitin Online


"You are a criminal, Gemm 16884--aggressive, hostile, nonconforming. We have noted tendencies toward diversity in your gait, in your dreams, and most especially in your repeated persistence in"--the Elder cleared his throat--"making music."Branded a deviant--and therefore a threat--to the utopian society of Conformity, Harmony, and Tranquility that exists in the year 2407,"You are a criminal, Gemm 16884--aggressive, hostile, nonconforming. We have noted tendencies toward diversity in your gait, in your dreams, and most especially in your repeated persistence in"--the Elder cleared his throat--"making music."Branded a deviant--and therefore a threat--to the utopian society of Conformity, Harmony, and Tranquility that exists in the year 2407, Gemm 16884 is given the choice between being recycled or undergoing a painful and mysterious cure. Gemm chooses the cure, and suddenly finds himself living the life of Johannes, a 16-year-old Jewish musician in starsbourg, Germany, in 1348, at the onset of the Black Death. As the pestilence spreads, the townspeople begin to accuse the Jews of causing the disease. Surrounded by hatred and horror, Johannes struggles to hold on to his family and faith as well as his belief in the basic goodness of human beings. But can he return to the future and become Gemm again after having known such emotions as pain. . .and love?...

Title : The Cure
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780380732982
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Cure Reviews

  • Amy Bailey
    2018-12-03 05:31

    This is a very interesting read. It is based on true events that many people may be unaware took place. There are two elements - a futuristic society in which people are forced into conformity. Those who are shown to be deviant are recycled, a less horrifying way of saying "put to death." When Gemm is classified as deviant, he is able to make the choice to endure a tortuous process to "cure" him of his affliction. He is put through an alternate reality (in this case an actual historical reality) in which he is a Jew living in Strasbourg during the pestilence of 1349. Throughout Europe, the Jews were blamed for the existence of the plague and sent to slaughter. This is a heartbreaking book. I feel that maybe it would have been better written for adults. I felt like it moved so quickly, and not enough effort was really put into the telling of the story. The characters were good, but I don't feel like enough care was given to adequately develop each one. The story is profound, however, and very disturbing.

  • Arminzerella
    2018-11-21 04:52

    Gemm 16884 is about to turn sixteen – the year where he and his twin, Gemma, make the Great Choice – when he starts having strange dreams, thoughts, and feelings. His behavior is determined to be deviant and he is taken away to be Cured or recycled (killed). The cure offered him is unique – he is to experience the memories of a person from history, which will be downloaded directly into his brain. Gemm accepts the conditions and becomes Johannes, a young Jewish man, whose people are being persecuted in the midst of the Black Death (plague). Johannes loves music as Gemm does, but the horror of his life (and its eventual ending) is enough to make Gemm renounce music forever. Johannes’ life becomes smaller and smaller as he and his people are terrorized by the Christian communities that surround them. He is finally put to death with his family and the rest of the Jewish community of Strasbourg, when the suspicious townspeople rise up and overthrow their local government and the most hot-headed individuals take control.Gemm’s story is just a way to encapsulate the real story – the persecution of Johannes and the other Jews. They were trapped. Most literally had nowhere safe to go – their enemies were everywhere, and the plague was everywhere else. Knowing that they had to do something to stay alive, and yet being unable to do anything to survive crushed their spirits as surely as did their tormentors. They were caught and tortured, forced to confess to crimes they had never committed. Christians who were sympathetic to their Jewish neighbors were similarly persecuted/run out of town. When Gemm is pronounced cured, he can’t forget Johannes’ memories. He realizes that diversity and passion can be dangerous – thanks to the cure – but he also knows that without these differences and pain people can’t learn what love really is. He begins to teach his twin what it means to be truly human, and it is his hope that this can be passed along to others, that they might all know love.Johannes’ story is quite powerful. It felt a bit manipulative in that the Jewish people could do no wrong (I’m sure that there were disreputable Jews, just as there were disreputable Christians). Knowing that they were doomed was the hardest part of reading this. One wonders, as with the Jewish Holocaust in WWII, why they did not fight back. Was it better to go into death without further violence? Although the science fiction framing of this story was interesting, the two tales were not equal – Johannes’ could have stood alone. And, while it’s clear that Gemm and his people could stand to learn many things from the history that’s been hidden from them, we don’t spend enough time with them (their society isn’t sufficiently detailed) to really care about these future humans. Still, as a piece of historical fiction, this worked very well. The science fiction enthusiast in me wants to know more about Gemm’s world than Levitin provides here.

  • Erin
    2018-11-18 05:39

    This is a book to break your heart. Based on true events it centers around a character in a rigid society where no one stands apart or is allowed to exhibit any emotion, physical, or unique traits of any kind. All wear masks and are identified by a number (very reminiscent of the concentration camps...and fitting in nicely with the anti-semitic themes of the book); and due to his musical ability Gemm is ruled a deviant who is either to be forcibly recycled or "cured." He chooses to be cured where he is taken to Strasbourg Germany in 1349 to live the life of a Jewish moneylender at the height of the black plague where Jews are blamed for the horrors of the plague. The historical parts of this book are very intriguing and well-written; and there is a part of me that thinks that the futuristic parts of the book are almost unnecessary; though I was struck by the fact that as I was reading this book I could not help thinking that that black-plague torn Europe still seems much preferable to the dismal future portrayed in this book. Perhaps that is evidence enough that the futuristic portion of the book is indeed necessary. This was a fantastic book with many lessons to teach about the powers of love, the devastating power of hate, and that the uniqueness of humanity can and should be celebrated without the world being plunged into chaos.

  • Aiyana
    2018-12-06 07:56

    I'm torn on how to rate this book, because it's really two books in one. The outer story, the one that frames the book, is a future dystopia, and honestly, not a particularly novel one. Differences have been outlawed so that everyone gets along, one person is born who can't fit in, yadda yadda nothing new here.But once we get away from this character's storyline the book changes dramatically. Sentenced to experience a life from history so that he can understand why humans gave up difference in favor of harmony, Gem becomes Daniel, a Jewish boy living in small-town Europe in the middle ages. Daniel's story is amazing, and all the more so for being based on true events. His world is described in exquisite detail, with nuance and vibrancy. It is impossible not to be drawn into his story and ultimately to experience with him the pains-- and the pleasures-- that make being human a worthwhile experience.

  • Kent R.
    2018-12-17 07:48

    In the year 2407, societal tranquillity is maintained by ample servings of serotonin drinks to the genetically engineered population and by careful monitoring to suppress all expressions of individuality or creativity. When the boy Gemm 16884 somehow feels moved to make music, an extinguished art, he is given a choice between being ""recycled"" (killed) or sent into virtual reality to experience the bad old days as a cure for his deviant desires. Opting for the latter, he finds himself living as Johannes, the 16-year-old son of a Jewish moneylender in 1348 StrasbourgAs the bubonic plague spreads from the ports of Sicily across Europe, the Jews are accused of poisoning the water supply; whole communities of Jews are massacred. Now Gem 16884 doesn't know if he still want to be living in his life. This book is kinda like The Giver with all of the organized futuristic things and is really cool.

  • Rachel Davis
    2018-11-20 08:31

    One of best books I have ever read. A thought provoking, soul searching novel about diversity, creativity, tolerance, and love.

  • Kelly
    2018-12-07 12:31

    Living While Jewish in the Middle Ages* Caution: Minor spoilers ahead! * It is The Year of Tranquility 2047, and humanity has eradicated violence, poverty, and bigotry – at the expense of diversity and emotion. If “diversity begets hostility” and “passion begets evil,” as the United Social Alliance Elders believe, then the only path to utopia is conformity: “Conformity begets Harmony begets Tranquility begets Peace begets Universal Good. (Shout Praises!)” The result is a rather sterile society devoid of family, love, intimacy, history, and art, a community in which all members think as one (and indeed, don’t seem to think about much at all).To achieve this “Universal Good,” years of genetic engineering and selective breeding have made the human brain compliant; standardized, even. Babies are created in batches, each male paired with a female twin with whom he becomes mated for life. Though the siblings live, work, and parent together (if they so choose), sex is prohibited, a relic of the past. Instead, when females turn 16, their eggs are harvested (a mandate euphemistically referred to as “the process”), so that the next generation can be made in a lab. Touching is taboo, and to further emphasize the sense of oneness, citizens wear smooth, featureless masks at all times. Not even twins are allowed to gaze upon one another’s faces. Disease and sickness have mostly been eradicated, but in lieu of immortality, citizens can choose to be “recycled” (i.e., euthanized) at any time. The maximum allowed lifespan is 120 years, after which time recycling is mandatory. If one is found to be “deviant” – a nonconforming thinker – most likely he or she will be recycled. A select few are offered the option of “The Cure.”Gemm 16884, with his love of music, vividly imaginative dreams, and a gait out of step with his peers, is one of the few people unlucky enough to exhibit random variations in his genetic makeup. Because his cerebellum is abnormally developed – by United Social Alliance standards, that is – Gemm is “receptive to rhythm and tone.” A difference that’s deemed both deviant and dangerous – and punishable by death. Gemm’s offered the possibility of “The Cure,” which he readily accepts, if only to spare his twin Gemma 16884 from being recycled as well. (An alternative preferable to being left alone, twins often choose to be recycled along with their siblings.) With a simple download to his brain, Gemm is transported to Strasbourg, Germany, circa 1348 AD. Here he becomes Johannes, a 16-year-old Jewish boy, son of Menachem the moneylender, and an aspiring musician. In a high-tech version of negative reinforcement, the Elders hope to “correct” Gemm’s behavior by paring music with pain – using a real-life example pulled from the pages of history.As the Black Death tears its way through Europe, the Jews are quickly scapegoated. Rumors spread that the Jews – all Jews – have conspired to poison wells throughout Europe, thus spreading the pestilence. Spurious allegations are quickly confirmed by confessions obtained from suspected Jews under torture. Across the continent, Jews are expelled from town; rounded up and tortured; and, eventually, massacred: burned at the stake like witches. Fear is only part of it; greed, too, propels gentiles to turn against their Jewish neighbors: “The townspeople – nobles and tradesmen and peasants alike – divide up the spoils: The gentry claim the houses, and the others take what is left […] Everyone is satisfied, the debtors most of all, for when the lender is gone, all debts are canceled.” (page 222) Of course, Christians are prohibited by their religion from lending money, and all the moneylenders in Strasbourg are Jewish. Commerce in Strasbourg is “well regulated”; save for lending, only one practicing Jew per profession is allowed. That means one Jewish doctor, one Jewish butcher, and Jewish leather maker, and so on. With few avenues of employment open to them, many turn to moneylending. Though Johannes’s family is far from rich, they are better off than many. All Jews in Strasbourg are required to pay extra taxes, including a bribery for protection to the Bishop. Yet the bribes pale in comparison to the riches that can be seized from an accused Jew – providing powerful motive for this legalized mob theft.The story takes Gemm – and the readers – through one year in the life of Johannes. We rejoice with him when he finds love with neighbor Margarite; mourn the passing of his family members; and fear for his safety as the pestilence creeps ever closer to Strasbourg. While his flute is a great source of comfort and joy, it also provides the soundtrack for unimaginable suffering and pain. When his uncle is murdered in a riot at the trade fair, Johannes blames himself – rather than the flagellants rampaging through town, inflaming the masses – for playing his flute on the Sabbath. And when the gentiles of Strasbourg finally turn against their Jewish neighbors, the rabbi’s final request is granted, and the death march to the cemetery scaffolding is attended by musicians. In The Cure, author Sonia Levitin has created a unique blend of science and historical fiction that’s truly heartbreaking. While many books have concentrated on the oppression of Jews in the 1930s and 40s, The Cure goes back even further, harnessing the fear of the plague and exposing the raw anti-Semitism of the day. Time and again, gentiles ask Jews (with a straight face) where they hide their tails and horns. Jewish citizens are forced to wear special hats to identify themselves – at a time when simply existing as a Jew was a near-criminal offense, punishable by beating or death. While Johannes and his family briefly consider fleeing as the town’s sentiments turn against them, they’ve nowhere to go: their people aren’t welcome anywhere in Europe. Even their few gentile friends offer little help, lest they be tarred and branded as “Jew lovers.” Even more powerful is the epilogue, which reveals that the events in The Cure are very much rooted in history. On February 14, 1349, the Jews of Strasbourg were rounded up, herded into the cemetery, and burned alive as the town’s musicians “played dancing tunes so that they could enter the presence of God with singing.” The pestilence reached Strasbourg two weeks later, proving the town’s “sacrifice” in vain. Even so, “few expressed remorse or altered their thinking.” Strasbourg was just one of approximately 300 Jewish communities destroyed during this time. Thousand of Jews – including children like Johannes and Rochele, Magarite and Rosa – were murdered by raging mobs. The only part of the story that leaves something to be desired is the ending, which wraps up rather abruptly and tidily. Two days later, and I still can’t figure out whether I’d call it “satisfying” – which most likely means no. 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 on Amazon.

  • Shelly
    2018-12-17 04:53

    I read this while teaching Robert Sharenow's Berlin Boxing Club to my group of 10th graders. I didn't use this book in class, but I was definitely making connections while I was reading. I picked this book up because I thought it would be mostly a futuristic sci-fi novel with a bit of history thrown in, but the majority of the book takes place in the past. I wish there had been a little bit more about Gemm's time in the future in both the beginning and the end of the book, but the middle where he was in the past was amazing! I was on edge for almost the entire novel, just waiting to find out how this "cure" would actually affect him. A great read!

  • Evelyn Ramos
    2018-12-03 12:36

    Overall I believe that this is a very interesting book. Something I really enjoyed about it is the fact that it was basically two stories in one. The story is about a young boy, Gemm, who is considered deviant and has to under go a painful process to cure him or be put to sleep (put to death). This is when the story truly begins. You get to see world through the eyes of a young Jewish boy, Johannes, in harsh times when the pestilence was spreading. I would really recommend this book if you liked the boy in the striped pajamas.

  • Jordan
    2018-12-07 10:28

    Still thinking about this book years and years later.

  • Eli
    2018-12-09 09:33

    The world of The Cure is set in a utopian society some hundreds of years into the future. While that idea is nothing very new, what compelled me to borrow this from the library is the fact that readers also get to travel back into the distant past. With the year today as point of reference, I was interested to see how the author would juxtapose two vastly different ways of human living –– a contrast that is separated by no less than one thousand years.This, for me, gave a unique twist to the book's premise. Not only does this allow us to see the mundane nature of Gemm's future world, but it also gives Gemm a chance to live as Johannes, a Jewish teenager who lived in 14th century Germany at the time of the Black Death. The Elders threw Gemm's sleeping mind into the past so that he could learn more about the things that his society gave up and now forbids –– to make him understand why the world he dwells in is the best option he could have. This now gives us two storylines: that of Gemm's and that of Johannes', making this book both a historical fiction and a post-apocalyptic dystopian fiction in one. For a fan of both genres, this is a big treat.The problem now lies with the execution of the premise. The first three chapters are in Gemm's time, 2407, and while we get the idea that routine, rigid structure, and conditioned courtesy is the norm, I find that there is little description of how this future society really operates. Johannes’ story begins in the fourth chapter, and it would be his story for the bulk of the book. There really isn’t much to point out about it because it does well in terms of writing and world-building –– the book’s image of 14th century life in Germany seemed pretty solid for someone unfamiliar to it like I am, and I suppose the bibliography at the end added to its overall credibility. Since I have mentioned that most of this book is in Johannes’ world, I wondered how exactly could the rest of Gemm’s story go without it feeling too… condensed?Sadly, that’s probably the best way to describe the book’s final chapters –– condensed, and maybe even trite. For the kind of story that was endorsed by the blurb, we actually get too little of the real main character, which is supposed to be Gemm 16884. I would have wanted to see more of the United Social Alliance, mainly how scary it really is to feel even just slightly different in a place where people are only allowed to live a certain way. It would have been more gripping if the implications of deviance were painted with a much darker shade, showing most of the internal battles that it comes with –– those questions of why and how –– as well as the external battle that will come after the realization that you cannot fight who you really are in a world that tells you, or wants you to be entirely something else. This has been achieved by Johannes’ storyline quite excellently; Gemm’s, however, fell too short. While Gemm managed to ask things, I felt like there were more questions in his head that could have potentially made the story much clearer if he had been given the chance to ask them at various points.Post-cure, I guess I was expecting to learn how exactly Gemm would come to terms with the truest form of himself given the constraints of his society, but unfortunately we never really get to see that. I honestly do not mind the “So what now?” kind of endings, but the events prior to the book’s final page did not seem like enough foundation for me to believe that Gemm actually knows what he’s doing –– mainly because we didn’t get to see the complex process of how he got to that point. Perhaps readers could have felt it more if the post-cure part had more pages, with Gemm feeling more confused than informed, then finding it harder to resist himself than ever before –– basically just anything that would show us that he fought to contain his deviance but eventually decided it’s best if something has to change.Even though I was disappointed with Gemm’s storyline, I can say that Johannes’ is quite able to make up for it. The sad part is, most of what Johannes went through still happens until today, only in different forms. There is much I learned from this book, such as the kind of cruelty humans are capable of doing when prejudice rules over, as well as the compassion that still manages to surface even in the face of undeniable danger. For what it’s worth, I think The Cure shined more in being a historical fiction novel than a sci-fi/dystopian one, and I liked how it used real events to remind us that the prevalence of ignorance and intolerance can only go down one path –– that of chaos.

  • Rohit Mittal
    2018-12-19 08:51

    Sonia Levitin’s book, The Cure, is about a futuristic dystopia, where people have some many choices, except for the ones that matter. Love and differences don’t exist in this world, and whoever is considered “deviant” in this world is a criminal who has two options: “Recycle” (Where you die painlessly and your body is recycled into new people) or undergo the cure. The Cure is a painful experience that makes the patient experience history from the eyes of someone in it. It is an attempt to make them experience excruciating pain not seen in their society and make them not be deviant and essentially cure from their divergence. This book is about Gemm 16884 and him undergoing the cure to stop him from making music. His mind becomes the mind of Johannes, a boy who is the son of a moneylender. He loves to play music and in his time, people say that he had two voices, his flute and his talking. The only problem: Johannes is a Jew, in the time of the bubonic plague, and his society blames his religion for the plague. Once again, the persecution of Jews in the book is quite historically accurate. As the Black Death spread throughout Europe, people became fearful and started to torture religious minorities to try to get time “confess” to starting the Black Death. After the first confession, Jews were feared, locked up, and even executed. Needless to say, this did nothing to stop the Black Death, which was not made by the Jews after all. This also brought up the theme of living in Feudal times and quite accurately portrayed how it was to live in Feudal times during the bubonic plague. Sonia’s writing style put a lot of suspense into the story, and I sometimes felt I could not put the book down. The use of show, not tell was used very frequently, especially on the “dreams” Johannes had as the drugs administering the Cure faltered, causing flashbacks to the future. Show, not tell was also used to describe the setting and helped me visualize the environment in which Gemm/Johannes was living in. One thing that I wish the author would do differently is make the book from a more first person view instead of a third person. It would have been a lot more interesting to see the world from Gemm/Johannes’s perspective. Third person view makes me feel very detached from the story and consequently, I do not get as much out of the story as I would like to. I conclusion, I like this book in general, as books of this theme and genre fit my taste, but there are a few things that could change it and make it a better reading experience. I recommend this book to people who like dystopias and historical fiction.

  • Yixun Li
    2018-12-14 11:41

    The cure The cure, by Sonia Levitin, is my independent reading book for now. The story is about a man who named Gemm 16844 and his twin Gemma, in the future, which everyone finally became equal. He is judged to be a deviant by having music feelings. And He Choose the painful Cure, to back into the history which only use one entire day, but is seems like one year I'm the history. He became a Jew, and there is a pestilence, he has to hold his family from dying. I like this book, because it has a good theme and a good imagination. The good thing is The author used a lots of writing techniques, and show, not tell. It shows that Sonia Levitin was thinking very hard on it. The story tells a clear thing about what happened. She told the story in a creative way and imaginative theme, it makes me wonder of what will the future be. By the way, she created the view of the history, bringing our mind back to the history.The things that she didn't did well is that she introduced a lots of events happened, which can be written or not. It also includes some unneeded composition, and it will be better if she accelerate the progress of starting the main theme, which is the pestilence. Comparing to others, for telling history, I like this one better. Lots of the history novels are non-fiction, Which I think is boring. I feels much better while I compare this to other history books or novels. But, for the theme of adventure, I fell less interesting with this book. Just like I said, It told the history part too much. I will more like other books If I compare this to adventure themes.I still recommend this book to others, it is the best choice for the people who wants to learn history and read an interesting story by the way. But it is not the best decision for the people who likes fierce and exiting. Just have to know, the story progresses very slow from the beginning to the epitasis.

  • Alma Cruz
    2018-11-22 11:49

    Have you ever read a book where it has you on the edge of you chair throughout the whole book? The book "The Cure," by Sonia Levitin, explains how in this utopian society of Tranquility in the year of 2407, people wear masks to cover their face so everyone is equal. In this society everyone has a twin and one of the twin chooses between being recycled or go through the process of the cure. Also if anyone who shows such emotion or plays music is a criminal.Gemm 16884 is a deviant boy who is given the choice between being recycled or going through the process of the painful and mysterious cure. Gemm 16884 chooses the cure and finds himself living in a different world the year 1348, in the period of the Black Death, as a boy named Johannes, a 16-year-old Jewish musician in Strasbourg, Germany. And I quote, The Elder drew near, gazing down into Gemm’s eyes. “You will be living in a small city of Strasbourg in the land once named Germany, in the year 1348. You will be known as Johannes, son of Menachem the Jew.” In the beginning of the story Gemm’s inner conflict is that he keeps having these recurring dreams of the things from the past that his society now doesn’t have, and I quote “Again that dream! How was it possible to dream of things one had never experienced?” The conflict throughout the whole story is Gemm conflicting with the society because he wants to be with his twin and not go through the cure without his twin Gemma or be recycled and not be able to see Gemma at all, and also everyone has to be equal. When Gemm is Johannes in the other world he has to go through hatred because people blamed the Jews for poisoning the water. After reading this book I think the theme of this story would be Resilience: overcoming challenges because Johannes has to go through hatred and Gemm has to go through the cure without Gemma. If you like fiction books this book would be a really good book for you to read.

  • Abby
    2018-11-28 05:34

    "The Cure" begins in a dystopian world where any human diversity-especially showing signs of exploring any of the arts (such as music)-is viewed as a high offense. Trained at a young age to be placid and manageable, citizens are also kept in a semi-drugged state to prevent creativity or "divergent" behavior from emerging. Now, this all sounds a lot more exciting than it really is. The futuristic part of the story is told with a lack of most of the details that would make it truly interesting. The characters are flat, and Gemm's emerging divergent behaviors seem unlikely and come across as very forced. (He dreams of music, and suddenly any pattern of sound-machines, footsteps, anything-cause him to create a repetitive beat in his head. This eventually results in his yelling "Ah, la--la-la-la--ah, eee-doo!" aloud, which is how he is caught) Perhaps it's the way it's described, but I just couldn't imagine how that sounded like music to Anyone.This is all in the very beginning. (Never fear, I haven't revealed any great spoilers-and won't.)The story moves on to what it seems the author Truly wanted to write about-a Jewish family living in the time of the black plague. This tale, as well, is a bit flat, but much more fleshed out than what I would consider to be the over-arching plot. Basically, this is a historical-fiction cunningly disguised as a futuristic/science fiction. If you're interested in the black plague or historical fiction, you certainly might enjoy it. I just didn't get really sucked into this book. It's obviously written for a teenage audience more than adult, and this may be part of the reason the book didn't work for me. Overall, it was just okay.

  • Rebecca
    2018-12-06 09:54

    I discovered this young adult book through a list of banned/challenged books. The story set in a future society that was promoted by the book's cover is a very small portion of the book and, frankly, felt like a gimmick to trick teen readers into selecting a book on a less popular subject. I was engaged at first, but soon found everything to be underdeveloped, bypassing what could have been interesting details to move the reader into the main story which takes place in medieval Europe from the perspective of a Jewish family. The two sections don't blend, despite a few inserts of crossing memories. Instead letting the reader get to know the characters and historical setting, Levitin jumps too quickly into her narrative on the mistreatment of Jews. This would have been more impactful if I had cared about the characters first. The story eventually becomes intense and interesting, but I almost stopped reading several times before that point. Then, there is a jolting return to the future with an ending that feels like it was written in about ten minutes. There is some good history here, just not very well executed.

  • Johnny Bennett
    2018-12-12 07:27

    Well, I have to say I was not thoroughly impressed with this book. The beginning of the book and the end of the book form one story and the middle tells a different story. I suppose there are a lot of books out there that are blatantly anti-Semitic and even more that are subversively so. This book is written from the Jewish stand point and details events in black plague Germany. And I while I fear this book accurately portrays a lot of the unfortunate vehemence and malice against the Jewish community I believe it approaches on anti-Christian. While much has been done in the name of Christ that actually tarnishes the reputation of His followers, I feel that every character that the author identified as Christian was portrayed as almost villainous. And it rankles me. One example of someone who identified with Christ in word AND deed would have been enough to ease my ire. Even if it was small showing. The writing was smooth enough that I was interested in the story and the pacing was a bit slow. Over, I would consider The Bronze Bow a much more enjoyable book though it would be contrary to the hopes of Sonia Levitin.

  • KateK. F.
    2018-12-14 07:41

    Levitin gives herself a huge challenge in this book as she combines a dystopian future with references to Brave New World with a in depth look at the life of the Jewish community in Strasbourg during the 1500s and the time of the Black Death. The story follows Gemm, who is a boy from a future where all emotions except serene joy have been suppressed, everyone wears masks and there is no form of art or creative expression. The story follows his journey as he hears music and his creative urges are suppressed by The Cure which forces him to experience the life of Johannes, a Jew in Strasbourg. Overall the historical sections are a more satisfying read since Levitin has done careful research into the traditions and prejudices of the times, which helps each moment feel real and at some points quite terrifying. Sadly the whole book does not live up the promise of this middle section because the ending with Gemm does not hold the same emotional redemption as the end of the Johannes' section. This book presents a good opportunity to discuss various types of prejudice from overt to more insidious ones and also could be a gateway into learning more about history.

  • R.G.
    2018-12-02 11:48

    My problem with this book is that I was interested in the futuristic dystopia but not so much with the historical flashback... The story begins in the future and shows this world where everyone is supposed to be the same and so wear masks and are basically born with their mates already picked for them and raised together which is a little weird... but everyone does seem happy... unless you somehow deviate from their norm... there was so much put into that world it was a little upsetting to suddenly get thrown into the past right before the Black Death really starts to spread... and here it goes into a historical account of the persecution of the Jews... Gemm is seeing all of this through the eyes of a Jewish boy who is having to live this life... and after that you only get brief mentions of the future world from what the boy sees in his connection with Gemm in a sort of dream like fashion... and while it was all told rather well and the story moves right along it just wasn't what I was expecting and the differences in the plots and the settings just made it a very odd book... it wasn't bad it just wasn't something I felt real happy about when I finally finished...

  • Jillian
    2018-12-02 05:50

    The Cure is historical fiction framed by dystopian fiction: a young man's passion for music and individuality is unacceptable in his society, so in order to teach him the value of homogeneous harmony he is forced to experience the life the young Jewish musician Johannes during the fourteenth century, a time of plague, paranoia, and persecution. I picked up the book for its dystopian angle, but it was hard to care much about characters who are meant to be emotionless and interchangeable, especially when they have annoying-to-read names like Gemm 16884. When the end of the novel returns to their world I wasn't overly concerned about them, and it wasn’t clear that Levitin was either. The best use of the dystopian world is its appearance in disturbing dreams that Johannes struggles to interpret religiously. Levitin spends most of the time focused on fourteenth century Germany, and portrays it well; while a bit slow to get going, the story of Johannes, his community, and the forces that tear it apart is both gripping and moving. A worthwhile read, especially for young adults.

  • Michelle
    2018-11-25 06:54

    An interesting book about 2 seemingly unrelated worlds, a dystopian future society and Germany in the 1300's, at the time of the plague. A young man in the dystopian society is offered "The Cure"--experiencing the life of another to teach him about love, pain, diversity, and societal problems. If the 'cure' is effective, he will then realize that society is better off without these emotions and problems. I hadn't realized the anti-semitism that was present in Europe during the middle ages, and the author does a nice job of re-creating the atmosphere. Although I didn't think I would be able to relate to these characters, I did. They are living in completely different times and circumstances, but feelings are universal. The emotions that the characters experience are ones that we all experience, making their situations personal. There is an epiloque which explains that the middle ages section of the novel came from actual documentation of that time. There is also a bibliography. This was a thought-provoking read for me--exactly the kind of thing I like.

  • Donna
    2018-12-13 09:37

    I checked out this book mainly because it takes place in Strasbourg and is largely based on the horrible pogrom that took place there in the 14th Century. I wasn't disappointed with the fascinating representation of Judaism in medieval Europe--it made me think about how odd it is that we focus on the knights and chivalry of the era while almost forgetting that Jews continued in much the same way--much cleaner and much more educated than any other Europeans--as they had been at the time of Christ. I appreciated the way the book expanded my mind in that direction.I thought the frame story--the mask-covered world of the future--was a bit odd, but it served a nice role in underscoring the reason why diversity matters as well as the fact that we are all a little afraid of it. It weaved nicely into the undying faith of the massacred Jews. On the whole, I'd highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in history or who just wants a nice, quick read!

  • Edward Smith
    2018-12-02 09:49

    Definitely a peculiar novel. The book starts out in a futuristic setting, heavily borrowed from Brave New World in that individuality is frowned upon, people wear masks and emotions are forbidden. The main character, Gemm disrupts the order by his desire for music. He is punished and faced with the option of being "recycled" or to take "the Cure". Gemm chooses the cure, and the novel takes a sharp twist. Most of the novel then takes place in 1348 in Strasbourg where Gemm lives through that of Johannes, a Jew from a family of wealthy moneylenders. The plague sweeps across Europe at this point, and people are in a panic. The nobles then decide to blame the Jews, accusing them of poisoning the water supply to provide a scapegoat, and to eliminate their debts. A strange novel with a unusual twist of historical and science fiction that covers a diverse range of issues such as individuality, conformity, and antisemitism.

  • Sarah
    2018-12-10 05:27

    Gemm 16884 is a deviant in the year 2407 because of his love of music and his expressive emotions. He faces two choices: to be recycled or go through the “cure.” He chooses to try the cure and is sent back in time to 1348 in Strasbourg, Germany. He has no memory of his past and is Johannes, a Jewish teenager living in an anti-Semitic Germany just before the beginning of the Black Death. Johannes loves both music and his neighbor Margarite, but is forced to face the cruelties of a world that hates him and his family because they are Jews. What will Gemm 16884 learn from his terrible experience?The Cure is a thought-provoking novel dealing with issues about racism, diversity, suffering, and fear. Levitin offers insight into these issues by showcasing a part of history not often discussed through the lens of a possible “perfect” future world.

  • Gina
    2018-12-13 06:50

    In the year 2407 a young teen, Gemm, lives in a utopian city. There is no prejudice, violence, disharmony. Everyone has enough to eat and they live long and healthy lives. However, he is diagnosed with being divergent. He enjoys music and that is something banned where he lives. Everyone's life is planned out and people are matched with genetically matched mates. Feelings are frowned upon. Unless he wants to be recycled the only cure for Gemm's condition is the cure. He will be sent back to 14th century Europe during the time of the plague and he will be sent back as a Jew. This book is an interesting mix of science fiction and historical fiction. It also brings up issues on conformity, acceptance of those who are different, and prejudice.

  • Susan
    2018-12-07 10:40

    This is a powerful book, if only for the parts that take place in 14th-century Germany. The theme of a dystopian/utopian society that has gotten rid of disharmony by wiping out diversity is an important one, if a bit formulaic in how it was described. And the concept of "the cure" for deviance is a fascinating one. But somehow the story within a story aspect didn't work out quite right. After Gemm returned from his experience as Johannes, it was as though the author couldn't come up with an ending that felt as realistic as what led up to it. I felt utterly absorbed throughout most of the book, but let down at the end. So even though the last two chapters were disappointing, I'd still recommend it highly.

  • Andy Capricorn
    2018-12-07 09:34

    I felt this book only had that bit of sci-fi in it to attract a broader range of readers. I found the story of Gemm and the story of Johannes very interesting, but Sonia Levitin could have very easily made this book just about Johannes and gotten the points of freedoms and the impact of anti-Semitic views across very well. Overall this book is a very nice overview of life at that time, and what it means to be Jewish (at least I thought it captured that pretty well, but since I'm not Jewish my experience is limited). Even more, what it means to be human. To be degraded but still hold pride. And community, where you stick together until the end, you don't see much of that in this day and age and it was nice to see it facing such a horrid end scene.

  • Carol
    2018-12-14 04:53

    The year is 2407. Gemm 16884 is considered a deviant in his utopian society of Conformity, Harmony, and Tranquility and forced to choose between being recycled or undergoing a painful and mysterious cure. Having no desire to let go of life, he chooses the cure and finds himself living in Strasbourg, Germany. The year is 1348 and he is now a 16-year-old Jewish musician trying to survive the onset of the Black Death. He struggles to hold onto his faith and his family through very confusing times full of hatred and terror. How will this affect him when he is brought back to the future in his own time? Will he be cured or will he be even more deviant in his love of life and pursuit of joy? An amazing combination of my two favorite genres, science-fiction and historical fiction.

  • James Wyman
    2018-12-03 06:54

    In the book Cure by Sonia Levitin it talks about these people that are different than the rest and kidnap people and kids to get what they want. The theme in this book is to never stop trying just like how Gemm never stop trying even when she was kidnapped. This book relates to a different book that I read because of how the characters in these stories never stop trying like in Nick of Time and Cure even when everything goes south the main characters still fight though it. This book relates to me by how if I were ever kidnapped I would try to escape or if someone in my family was kidnapped I would try my hardest to free them just like what Gemm did to her best friend that was kidnapped.

  • Lynn O
    2018-11-30 04:43

    science fiction, historical fiction; The main character lives in a futuristic world where everyone is the same. This is reminiscent of the worlds created by Madeleine L'Engle and Lois Lowry. Because he is experiencing the urge to make music, he needs to be "cured" of this deviance and is sent back as a Jew to the time of the plague in Europe where he experiences persecution for his uniqueness. This is supposed to cure him of his urge to be different. However, the actual result when he returns to his present time is quite different.

  • LeAnne
    2018-11-20 10:57

    Can the goods of love and freedom exist without the evils of pain and bad choices? When a so-called "Deviant" from the year 2407 is sent to be "cured" by the download of the experiences of a medieval Jewish boy directly into his brain, he is changed forever. The future scenes are in 3rd person past tense, while medieval scenes are in 1st person present tense. Very well written with scenes that have stuck with me for years. Themes of unreasoning hate and racism as Jews were blamed for the plague in 1348.

  • Sneezeweed
    2018-12-17 09:47

    I put 2 stars because I thought "it was ok", not because I didn't like it. On the other hand, there was nothing about the book I liked, except, perhaps, the concept: it was a blend of futuristic dystopia and historical fiction. Cool idea, really "meh" results. I didn't fall in love with any of the characters, it felt rushed, neither of the two settings felt particularly developed, but it wasn't bad. I guess maybe the size of the idea was too big for the size of the book. I would have given a three star if there was an engaging character.

  • Jennifer
    2018-11-26 06:52

    I really wanted to give this book four starts but just couldn't. It is a great concept, and had some pretty intense parts, and actually taught me a lot about a time I knew nothing about, but still, it was extremely slow for a good half of the book. Due to this, it took me days to get through a book barely 200 pages. However, I am glad I read it. :)

  • Heather Turner
    2018-11-28 08:37

    This was a short book but it really solidified my love of dystopian literature and what it can be. It is so sad that it is currently out of print. An amazing book that just happens to be dystopian.

  • Brooke
    2018-11-19 11:38

    This book was an odd mix of science fiction and historical fiction. Gemm lives in a future society where conformity begets tranquility and tranquility begets peace and so on. Being different is not acceptable and Gemm happens to be on the artistic side. He is offered a chance to be accepted into society but he has to pass a challenge: spend one year as a Jew in 1348 Germany. If fans of historical fiction can get through the first couple of futuristic chapters, they will readily enjoy this one. Fans of science fiction may find it less appealing since the bulk of the novel takes place in the 1300s. if you're like me and enjoy both genres, this one is a winner.

  • Emily Andrea
    2018-11-23 10:56

    I loved this book. I want to purchase it for my very own bookshelf. It set in the future and I don't want to spoil it for anyone! Seriously read this book.

  • Kate Hastings
    2018-11-24 06:53

    In the future, humans are not allowed to experience emotions, as emotions are the root of evil things like wars and greed, etc.A boy is arrested when he absent-mindedly begins to tap a rhythm, a precursor to music. "Defective" beings are encouraged to eliminate themselves, but an alternative is to receive a treatment called, "The Cure."The boy decides to experience the cure, which involves an intense virtual-reality program that regresses him back to the middle ages, where is is a Jewish minstrel being persecuted for his faith. It is the goal of the program to make him have negative associations with music so that his behavior will stop.

  • Tori Hook
    2018-11-24 04:54

    I did not want to read this book. In fact, the only reason I did was because my little brother had read it for school, asked the teacher for a copy for me and specifically asked me to read it. The kid usually can't stand reading. I didn't have the heart to tell him no. While this wasn't the best book I've ever read, it wasn't bad either. I will admit that the futuristic society was a bit far-fetched, but then again, what's fiction for? I especially enjoyed the historical middle section about the plague in Europe in the 1300s. All in all, a fairly good book. And, if my brother liked it, that has to say something.

  • David
    2018-12-18 09:48

    This is a really interesting and one unlike any other I have read. The novel begins by taking place in a futuristic society where music is shunned. When Gemm, the protagonist, finds an interest in music, "the cure" is to send him to the middle ages in Europe where he relives a life of a young Jewish boy. Amidst going through all sorts of trials that Jews endured in that period, he returns to his present time (in the future) and becomes higher in the society and shares a (gasp) song with his twin. It is a unique novel that encompasses a futuristic society with historical fiction.

  • Anaïs Gurrola
    2018-12-08 08:29

    Whoa. This book made me question humanity, made me cry and still gave me hope.

  • Tina
    2018-11-26 09:29

    The Cure reminded in me some ways of both Lois Lowry's The Giver and Number the Stars. They story is of a young man in a future where difference is forbidden, who is "deviant" in his love of music. The cure is to give him the memory of a young Jewish man in 1348 when the plague ravaged Europe and was blamed on Jews. The Jewish man loves music and the elders believe that by associating music with pain, they will cure him of his deviance. The story was very engaging and well worth the hour or so of my life that I spent completely immersed in the story.

  • Murtaza Molai
    2018-12-13 04:29

    Based in the future, "The Cure" is about a person named Gem 16884. Yup, a number. The future is a unique society where masks and numbers are enforced over faces and names. A futuristic world surrounds him and he's different, so he gets The Cure. I read this book because in fascinated by futuristic society novels like this and "The Giver." Science and action and twisted plots are all present to give one hell of time while reading this book. I felt that the reading level itself wasn't all that challenging but still the story was good.

  • Ethan I. Solomon
    2018-12-02 10:46

    I think the fact that I read this book about fifteen years ago in passing and yet still vividly remember it says something. To anyone beginning to delve into science-fiction and reading books like 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 and other such books will enjoy this one, not that the quality of this book is up to par with those, but if you did like the subject-matter in those books you'll enjoy this one. I mention people beginning to get into sci-fi because the book is aimed at the YA crowd, but was enjoyable at the time and stuck with me.

  • Sam Hacker
    2018-12-14 07:48

    Very small book, but surprisingly long. I didn't really like it though, I didn't see Johann's change at all during the novel. I suppose that's because Gemm 16884 was the one experiencing the change, but I never really connected to him.

  • Michael Camacho
    2018-12-17 11:52

    Its a good book and it is very interesting as well.