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Posted October 12, 2013
Perfectly thought-provoking and fascinating from a medical stand
Perfectly thought-provoking and fascinating from a medical stand point, a study of early 20th century human behavior and an around engrossing historical read, Fever is a fictional account about Mary Mallon and her unfortunate claim to fame as America's first identified asymptomatic carrier of Typhoid fever. The reader is immediately plunged into the controversial years surrounding Mary Mallon's service record as a hired cook for some of New York's elite and powerful, the atmosphere of the era is then introduced describing in detail the unsanitary conditions of New York and the gloom, expected death and sickness that sadly was a common occurrence of life. And then finally the reader is spun around to reexamine and question if Mary Mallon was really a victim of the times she lived and became a target for the growing hysteria and paranoia already directed toward the Irish or simply a callous stubborn woman who thumbed her nose at the medical community and continued to spread the bacterium Salmonella Typhi through her unhygienic cooking techniques? History and medical journals has painted Mary Mallon only one way and now we have another opportunity to reexamine the woman behind the infamous name, in Mary Beth Keane's Fever.
In the end, I thought Fever was a generally captivating read and fictional story of Mary Mallon and the infancy of Epidemiology. I was immediately drawn by Ms. Keane's use of description and flare with storytelling. At the same time however, the story did sputter at times and became bloated with uninteresting characters and chapters. The theme seemed to shift from medical-historical fiction to unexpected romance that contained anachronistic dialogue, phrases and actions. Another view of the cat-and-mouse games that crept into the story would have been a great alternative to the romance. Still Fever is an overall noteworthy debut that should find its way on the shelves of those who are interested in the history of disease, fictional accounts of the misunderstood scapegoats of history or those who just love a good story.
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Posted October 28, 2014
"Fever" is relevant today . This is an excellent story
"Fever" is relevant todayWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
This is an excellent story about "Typhiod Mary" , an Irish immigrant who cooked for
wealthy New York families in the early 1900's. While she showed no signs of typhoid herself,
many people she cooked for died of typhoid. She was arrested and quarantined against her wil causing a complicated personal life. After being released she resumed her cooking, only to be quarantined again, for the rest of her life. Today's Ebola crisis draws an interesting parallel to "Typhoid Mary" and whether or not her treatment was justified or criminal.
Posted April 8, 2013
While I heard the phrase, "typhoid Mary" I never knew
While I heard the phrase, "typhoid Mary" I never knew the real story behind it. I enjoyed the book but found at times it to be rather dull and not as in depth as I would have enjoyed.
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