Fever: A Novel
by Mary Beth Keane
Hardcover- $21.99

Mary Beth Keane, named one of the 5 Under 35 by the National Book Foundation, has written a spectacularly bold and intriguing novel about ...

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  "Fever" by Bak8382 (see profile) 07/07/13

Mary Mallon was an Irish immigrant living in New York City in the beginning of the 1900s. As a talented cook she was constantly in demand and had cooked for some of the richest families in the city. She was also extremely healthy, and was known to nurse several of her clients back to health from various illnesses. Then in 1907 her world came crashing down. A doctor determined that she was an asymptomatic carrier of typhoid fever. She was immediately quarantined on North Brother Island, and kept there for several years as they performed a battery of tests on her. When her lawyer finally secures her release it is with the stipulation that she stop cooking. Faced with disagreeing information and difficult choices Mary makes a series of decisions that have far reaching ramifications.

This is a fascinating fictional account of the real "Typhoid Mary." Mary is portrayed as a sympathetic character, especially in the beginning when she was stripped of her basic rights and had to fight to have her case heard in court. Yet as the story goes on, and Mary becomes aware of the illnesses she may inadvertently have caused it becomes harder to view her in a favorable light. This point generated an interesting discussion in my bookclub. Like Rebecca Skloot did in the nonfiction title The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Keane has brought to life a forgotten piece of history, and raised questions about medical ethics.

 
  "Fever" by Lenaz (see profile) 05/14/14

I love historical fiction and this was an interesting story; easy to read...about the real life Typhoid Mary.

 
  "Fever" by FWilson (see profile) 05/21/14

Mary Beth Keane brought the protagonist, Mary Mallon, to life for the reader. We sympathized with her through her hardships and struggles trying to earn a living and survive in spite of persecution, rejection and discrimination. New York City was a ruthless place to live for a female immigrant in the early 1900’s.

 
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