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Fever by Mary Beth Keane

Fever (original 2013; edition 2013)

by Mary Beth Keane

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4295324,588 (3.77)32
Authors:Mary Beth Keane (Author)
Info:Scribner (2013), Paperback, 306 pages
Collections:Fiction, Given Away
Tags:typhoid fever, immigrant, g:historical, ARC

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Fever by Mary Beth Keane (2013)



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Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
This is quite a good, realistic historical fiction novel and navigates all the complexities of the "Typhoid Mary" situation well. I certainly recommend it if you have any interest in turn-of-the-last-century New York, the "Typhoid Mary" situation, the story of immigrants in the early 20th century, or anything else of that nature. ( )
  Caitlin70433 | Jun 6, 2016 |
This was a pretty interesting book about a subject i knew fairly little about... I recommend it to those looking to explore a dark part of history. ( )
  Shadowling | Jun 6, 2016 |
This is a fictionalized account of Mary Mallon, an Irish cook in the late 1800's, early 1900's, who was an asymptomatic carrier of typhoid fever, and supposedly had infected many people for whom she cooked. It deals with the almost inhumane way she was treated in the effort to keep her isolated from society. It is also a story of the ignorance of an era when little was known of disease or how it was spread. The story is a well written fiction account of the possible trials and struggles of this unfortunate woman. It was an interesting read. ( )
  readyreader | Jun 1, 2016 |
This was very interesting and thought provoking. I love books that teach me alot while giving me a story to digest. Well written -- Mary is thoroughly believable as the character that she must have been, as is the man who is essentially her common law husband. Can you imagine being told that you are a disease carrier, so many have died because of you, and in a time when many didn't have much training, told that you can't do your job, the special job you are good at? Can you imagine being basically imprisoned without a trial? Can you imagine wondering, but not being really convinced, that you were responsible for many, many deaths? This book helped me really imagine all of that. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
3.5 ★ Fever by Mary Beth Keane

Mary Mallon (September 23, 1869 – November 11, 1938)
(Typhoid Mary), was the first person in the United States identified as an asymptomatic carrier of the pathogen found in typhoid fever.

historical fiction

I should have read a nonfictional account of Mary before a fictional one.

It's hard for me to be sympathetic with her when she seemed to understand
the "medical engineer", after finding a trail of disease wherever she cooked.
After her confinement, she was released under the condition that she never work as a cook again.
Fortunately, epidemiology pursued her relentlessly when a trail of typhus appeared.
She had defied the edict.

When cornered, after a series of new settings including a bakery, a chef service from her home and of all things a primary chef in a maternity hospital...
she was informed:
"The first time carelessness.....the second time criminal."
Mary Beth Keane has depicted her as fiercely compelling, dramatic, vexing, sympathetic, uncompromising and unforgettable .(book jacket)
She definitely had the impact the author hoped to achieve.
Now, I'm off to read an actual account.” ( )
  pennsylady | Feb 2, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
Keane evokes the atmosphere of the bustling and booming New York of the time to life as she details both Mary’s day-to-day life and the work of “sanitation engineer” Dr. George Soper, who uses basic detective work and the scientific method to trace the infections back to her. It’s this “one-two punch” the makes the novel so compelling.
added by KelMunger | editLit/Rant, Kel Munger (Jun 11, 2013)
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"Jesus Mercy"
--Mary Mallon's headstone
St. Raymond's Cemetery
Bronx, New York
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The day began with sour milk and got worse. (Prologue)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Mary Mallon was a brave, headstrong Irish immigrant woman who journeyed alone to America, fought hard to climb up from the lowest rung of the domestic-service ladder, and discovered in herself an uncanny and coveted talent for cooking. Working in the kitchens of the upper class, she left a trail of disease in her wake, until one enterprising and ruthless "medical engineer" proposed the inconceivable notion of the "asymptomatic carrier". From then on, Mary Mallon was a hunted woman.

In order to keep New York's citizens safe from Mallon, the Department of Health sent her to North Brother Island, where she was kept in isolation from 1907 to 1910. She was released under the condition that she never work as a cook again. Yet for Mary - spoiled by her former status and income and genuinely passionate about cooking - most domestic and factory jobs were abhorrent. She defied the edict.
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On the eve of the twentieth century, Mary Mallon emigrated from Ireland at age fifteen to make her way in New York City. Brave, headstrong, and dreaming of being a cook, she fought to climb up from the lowest rung of the domestic-service ladder. Canny and enterprising, she worked her way to the kitchen, and discovered in herself the true talent of a chef. Sought after by New York aristocracy, and with an independence rare for a woman of the time, she seemed to have achieved the life she'd aimed for when she arrived in Castle Garden. Then one determined "medical engineer" noticed that she left a trail of disease wherever she cooked, and identified her as an "asymptomatic carrier" of Typhoid Fever. With this seemingly preposterous theory, he made Mallon a hunted woman.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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