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Fever: A Novel by Mary B Keane
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Fever: A Novel (original 2013; edition 2013)

by Mary B Keane

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4074926,158 (3.8)31
Member:GarySeverance
Title:Fever: A Novel
Authors:Mary B Keane
Info:Scribner (2013), Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:typhoid fever, New York, Irish immigrants, cooking, Department of Health, quarantine, epidemiology

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Fever by Mary B Keane (2013)

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» See also 31 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
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 |
I'm surprised more people haven't reviewed this very well written informative book about Typhoid Mary. I loved it for it's historical value alone. I'm not sure if everything written here is true, especially the part about Albert. But if indeed she did have a romance with Albert, Mary certainly had a hard luck story. Women of that class in those years had very little value, just hard work and giving birth. Great book! ( )
  Judy_Ryfinski | Jan 20, 2016 |
I'm surprised more people haven't reviewed this very well written informative book about Typhoid Mary. I loved it for it's historical value alone. I'm not sure if everything written here is true, especially the part about Albert. But if indeed she did have a romance with Albert, Mary certainly had a hard luck story. Women of that class in those years had very little value, just hard work and giving birth. Great book! ( )
  Judy_Ryfinski | Jan 20, 2016 |
I would think that it is a little difficult to write a fictional account of a real event. The author has to make many assumptions and take some literary license with thoughts, feelings, etc. when it comes to fictionalizing an historical figure. I have a feeling that Keane did a pretty good job here with Mary Mallon, better known as "Typhoid Mary".

I found Mary to be an extremely likable character. At first, that is. She was no nonsense, hard-working, respectful, and very talented at her occupation as a cook to the affluent. However, once it was obvious that she was a carrier of typhoid fever, she absolutely refused to believe that it may be true, and do what the authorities asked of her.

With that said, the book was very easy to read, and compelling. It was factual, as far as Keane could research, and the characters were very realistic. I had no sympathy for Mary, despite the author trying to convey a sense of sympathy in her writing. Nor did I have any sympathy for Mary's partner, Alfred. As a matter of fact, I came to the point of thinking that they deserved one another.

I enjoyed the book, recommend it, and will read more by this author. ( )
  CarmenMilligan | Jan 18, 2016 |
This is a historical novel about Typhoid Mary, a carrier of typhoid in the early 1900's. I enjoyed it and learning about her history and the times. ( )
  TerriS | Jan 17, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 50 (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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Epigraph
"Jesus Mercy"
--Mary Mallon's headstone
St. Raymond's Cemetery
Bronx, New York
Dedication
TO MARTY
First words
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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