BookBrowse has a new look! Learn more about the update here.
Not Logged in.
Book Jacket

The Nurse's Secret


A fascinating historical novel based on the little-known story of America's ...
More about this book

Do you think Una's survival skills make her immoral? Did you find her to be a likable character?

Created: 03/02/23

Replies: 28

Posted Mar. 02, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 3442

Do you think Una's survival skills make her immoral? Did you find her to be a likable character?

To survive in the slums of Gilded Age New York, Una is a liar, a thief, and a con artist with little compassion for the suffering of others. Do you think this makes her immoral? Did you find her to be a likable character?


Posted Mar. 02, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
nanb5013

Join Date: 01/12/23

Posts: 11

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

I found her likable and was rooting for her to succeed. She had good survival skills and no parents to guide her. She did what she had to and I don't think she was immoral. She tried to help her patients even when she thought the doctor was prescribing the incorrect treatment. She wanted to find the killer in the hospital and could have looked the other way. I think deep down she had a good moral compass and it guided her to do the right thing in a crisis.


Posted Mar. 02, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
elizaj

Join Date: 03/02/23

Posts: 8

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

I really liked Una from start to finish! In the beginning she is gritty, clever, disciplined- but not so hardened that she doesn’t try to help the little boy (in the train station). She has the streetsmarts of someone who has had a rough young life, but not the depression or anger that can accompany it. She’s brave and determined and I loved that she still managed to be crass and sarcastic even tho she is in such a desperate situation. I enjoyed her relationship with Dru tremendously, it was heartwarming. I enjoyed that Una found her true calling through an act of deception- very true to character.


Posted Mar. 02, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Lolo

Join Date: 03/02/23

Posts: 5

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

In the beginning I think her survival skills did not help her. I think she was a good person deep down, and lacked some life skills due to the way she grew up. She did the best she could with what she had.
I didn’t love this character, her response to certain situations became tedious and annoying.


Posted Mar. 02, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
angelaw

Join Date: 05/26/22

Posts: 93

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

Una’s skills ensured she survived. For a women and a child of her class at that time in history, there were very limited job opportunities. She did what she needed to do to survive- what other options were there for Una to earn a living? I enjoyed Una story!


Posted Mar. 03, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cathyoc

Join Date: 04/26/17

Posts: 274

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

It took me awhile to warm up to Una, I was surprised at first of how much of the book was explaining her life on the streets. Una had overcome so many trials after her mother's death, I could forgive her immoral acts as survival skills. I did find her likable due to her compassion toward her patients, her tenaciousness in solving the murders and her care for her roomate.


Posted Mar. 03, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 466

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

I think Una came into the life of a con person to survive after the death or her mother and the abandonment of her father. She needed to eat. This is an age old question-are her crimes due to the fact that she is an immoral, bad person or due to the fact that she had no other way to take care of herself? Is trying to feed yourself by stealing really a crime? By the time she was an adult and capable of making her own decision about what was truly right and wrong, it was almost too late to change. She could have been turned in by Marm Blei or abandoned. Una was really trapped. I think she knew there was a better way to live because she reflected often on what her life may have been like if her mother had lived. When she had the opportunity to continue her life on the run, she chose to admit who she really was-taking the risk of exposing herself to save the lives of those at risk of being murdered.


Posted Mar. 03, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Jessica F

Join Date: 05/23/20

Posts: 181

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

I loved Una's character!
We can see that she came from a good family, because her heart was truly wholesome and loving. Of course being alone on the streets, she had to become hardened to life and do what she had to do to get by. I do not consider her act immoral.

We see her true self shine after she makes "friends" with Dru, finds love in Edwin, solves a crime, and tenderly cares for her patients.


Posted Mar. 03, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
carriem

Join Date: 10/19/20

Posts: 261

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

I like Una from the beginning and her survival skills made her character more intriguing and her being a con artist added to her character. She had no choice but to utilize these in order to survive given the life she was handed but at the ended this made her successful. She did reflect how her life might have been different but knew she had to live the life she was given and then make a success for herself and to prove to others there is hope for others who have to fight for the life they want.


Posted Mar. 04, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Jude Gee

Join Date: 02/08/23

Posts: 17

RE: Do you 3think Una's ...

Una’s street-smart survival skills kept her alive but also hindered her as when she wrongly reacted to people and events when she was at Bellevue. But her childhood options were so appalling that I don’t think moral judgements can be made.


Posted Mar. 04, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
CelesteW

Join Date: 04/07/22

Posts: 15

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

I don't believe her survival skills made her immoral in the least bit as a child. She lost her mother unexpectedly and had a drunk for a father. How could she be faulted for doing what was necessary to survive? That said, as an adult, she could have changed her ways. She probably could have gotten a menial job, but she would not have been happy because she likely would have viewed it as impinging on her freedom. So does this make her immoral? Choosing freedom on the streets over making an "honest" living?


Posted Mar. 04, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joannev

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 76

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

I liked Una!! Her survival skills were definitely helpful - not at all immoral, she was a survivor and I admired that.


Posted Mar. 04, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
erical

Join Date: 04/17/11

Posts: 19

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

I don't think Una's survival skills are immoral. It's easy to say she's a thief and con artist if you have a place to live and food in your stomach. With the lack of actual social programs to help children and the type of institutions that did, she did what she needed to do to survive. It is a shame she had to lie her way into a program to change her life and that these options did not exist for many.


Posted Mar. 05, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
shirleyl

Join Date: 06/01/11

Posts: 78

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

I loved Una because of her flaws, not in spite of them. For me the most interesting part of the story was Una's psychological transformation. In her prior life everything was transactional. She helped others if by doing so she herself was helped more. I think that type of "morality" is very common. As a young girl she did have the experience of unconditional love from her mother. At the nursing school Una begins to enjoy helping others for its own sake. She starts amending the life rules she had followed as a thief. She cleverly uses the skills she used to use to identity a mark to "read" her patients to determine their legitimate needs. She learns to be more forgiving of both of her parents' faults. This interior growth is to me the very definition of morality.


Posted Mar. 05, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sumo

Join Date: 05/16/21

Posts: 3

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

I do not think that Una's survival skills were immoral. She did what she had to do to get along with no education or parental guidance. I found that Una was not particularly likable at first. But as she grew in her role as a nurse and gained confidence in her abilities, she also grew on me.


Posted Mar. 05, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ruthiea

Join Date: 02/03/14

Posts: 280

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

I do not think she was immoral, even as she was lying and committing crimes she knew the difference between right and wrong. She still had empathy, in fact she had to try to shut down her feelings as they often put her in danger. Choices for a female child in her circumstances were basically prostitution or theivery. To get a job as a maid you needed references, to work in a factory you needed to know someone and you probably had to deal with sexual harassment. She wanted a better life and was saving to try to get one, but she made a huge error betraying Marm.


Posted Mar. 06, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
michelen

Join Date: 08/13/13

Posts: 20

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

I think she was trying to survive in a very difficult situation. Who knows what many of us would have done, faced with the same choices.


Posted Mar. 07, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 466

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

ruthlea, you made a great point-and one I forgot about! Una was battling between sticking to her rules and being a caring, empathetic person even while living life on the street and stealing. She was “grounded” by Marm after she tried to help a young boy evade the police. Una was arrested because she didn’t run away from the murder scene in the alley. She was worried about her acquaintance, Traveling Mike. In spite of potential danger prior to TM murder, Una was keeping an eye out and working with the reporter as well to try and catch the murderer.


Posted Mar. 07, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Jude Gee

Join Date: 02/08/23

Posts: 17

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

The more I think about it, the more I feel that it was the society around Una that was immoral. There was no concern for a child’s survival. When you are living in that world, whose so-called morals is a child supposed to honor? And why?


Posted Mar. 08, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gwenc

Join Date: 07/14/12

Posts: 99

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

I liked Una from the beginning but was somewhat impatient to get to the actual nursing part. I especially enjoyed her rules to live by and her blossoming compassion for her patients and developing friendship with both Dru and Edwin.


Posted Mar. 13, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
shannonl

Join Date: 12/04/17

Posts: 54

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

Una was a likeable character...like most of the characters in this novel, I got irritated with her. Was she immoral? I think she was unethical not immoral. I think we all make decisions that are not "right" at times but we need to do that to be just.


Posted Mar. 15, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lauriem

Join Date: 10/05/22

Posts: 22

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

I found Una to be a likable character. She is smart, resourceful, and ended up being compassionate and empathetic. Her survival skills were out of necessity to live, yet she did keep herself in check with her "rules to live by".


Posted Mar. 16, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
amyjo804

Join Date: 04/14/22

Posts: 10

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

I liked Una! And I keep thinking if this story was made into a movie who I would like to play her. Hmmm....will have to keep thinking on that one, but who could not root for an underdog trying her best to survive and in the process opens the eyes of others in remarkable ways?


Posted Mar. 16, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joanned

Join Date: 07/11/22

Posts: 3

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

I thought Una did what she needed to do to survive in the world as it was at the time.


Posted Mar. 16, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 466

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

amyjo804, I love your comment about an underdog and her remarkable ways! On the streets, Una was judged for all the things that don’t really matter-address, appearance, etc. As a nurse in training, Una is the one I would want to be assigned to me. Una is a great example of why I always cheer for the underdog!


Posted Mar. 18, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliaa

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 280

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

I liked Una character more than I thought I would. She did what she had to in order to survive. Rather than immoral, maybe I would use the word amoral. We can't forget that until her mother burned to death helping others, Una had a good upbringing. Her father's drinking, worsened once her mother died, made for a difficult childhood for Una. Her creative solution to fleeing the police (enrolling in nursing school) was something that gave her the possibility of eventually earning a living where it wouldn't be necessary to fleece others. Though she lied her way into the school, once she was there she tried hard to make a go of it.


Posted Mar. 18, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sylviala

Join Date: 09/20/21

Posts: 31

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

I do not think she was immoral; she did what she had to do to survive. Although her mother died when she was nine, she taught Una basic tenets of being a good person. Page 347 "Better to do than sit around idle. Better to give than to wait for someone to give to you." Una was quirky, but likable.


Posted Mar. 26, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jenbrinkley

Join Date: 04/05/16

Posts: 23

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

I choose to give Una a pass on immorality. She did whatever she needed to for survival. Her gutsy nature and quick thinking made her indomitable. I love her spirit.


Posted Apr. 15, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ashleighp

Join Date: 09/15/20

Posts: 33

RE: Do you think Una's survival ...

I think there is nothing immoral about survival. Until you’re in the exact situation, it’s hard to cast such a harsh judgement. I think she did her best to survive and that’s all she could do.


Reply

Please login to post a response.