Running Out of Time (Haddix novel)
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|Author||Margaret Peterson Haddix|
|Genre||Young adult novel|
|Publisher||Simon & Schuster|
|Media type||Print (hardback)|
|LC Class||PZ7.H1164 Ru 1995|
Jessie Keyser is a 13-year-old girl from the village of Clifton, Indiana, in the 1840s. During a village-wide outbreak of diphtheria, Jessie's mother reveals it is actually 1996, and Clifton Village is a tourist attraction, a replica of a historical village. Her mother asks her to retrieve a cure for now her own sister Katie has taken ill; the owners of the attraction ceased to provide modern medical care to the villagers in order to preserve its authenticity. She tells Jessie to get the cure from a man named Isaac Neeley, who did not think Clifton should be a tourist attraction. Jessie's escape will be difficult, because Clifton is guarded to ensure that none of the villagers leaves or finds out it is actually 1996.
As Jessie escapes underground, she is almost caught by guards and almost loses the package of food and money her mother gave her. She stays overnight in a restroom until she is able to leave the tourist area. Once she makes it to town, Jessie is frequently confused by the technological advancements of the modern world. After meeting with Neeley at a KFC, she returns with him to his apartment, where he attempts to drug her so he can kill her. She overhears a conversation in which he says she knows too much about the outside world. Jessie wakes up the next day and manages to escape his apartment through a window.
Jessie convinces local newspapers and radio stations to attend a press conference on the steps of the Capitol building. When the media arrives, Jessie begins to explain the situation but faints due to diphtheria, which infected her before she left Clifton. At the press conference, she learns the man she thought was Isaac Neeley is actually Frank Lyle, a scientist and business partner of Miles Clifton, the founder of Clifton Village; the real Isaac Neeley is dead. After it is revealed that Clifton had allowed Lyle and others to use his village to try to create a stronger human gene pool that would be able to resist disease without the aid of medicine, Clifton Village is closed.
When Jessie awakens, she leaves her bedroom and finds Miles Clifton talking about the diphtheria outbreak in Clifton Village to news reporters on TV. She discovers that several other members of the Clifton Village have been brought to the hospital. Her parents are not among those who were arrested, but they will have to convince the authorities that they didn't put any of their six children in danger. Jessie's mother is allowed to visit Jessie in the hospital, and she explains that Jessie's father still rejects life in the 20th century but they have no choice if Clifton closes. After Clifton Village closes, Jessie lives in the year 1996. Although she still lives in her house with her parents and her family, she attends a regular school to get a proper education.
Simon & Schuster, who published Running Out of Time, noted that the film The Village (2004) had a number of similarities to the book. The film's plot also features a village whose inhabitants choose to live in a manner reminiscent of the 1800s, when the year is actually 2004, and a young female protagonist who escapes the village in order to acquire medical supplies.
- Helbig, Alethea & Perkins, Agnes (2002). "Her inventive first novel. Running Out of Time". Dictionary of American Children's Fiction, 1995-1999. Simon & Schuster, 1995 is about a tourist-attraction community where the children, at least, do not even know that the life of 1840 that they exemplify is not the actual time. Another well-received ...". p. 171. ISBN 0313303894.
- "Stolen idea in The Village?". Guardian.