The Little Bookworm
In the early 1900s the idea of a healthy carrier of a disease was unknown. But then an outbreak of typhoid became and became link to a cook. And thus was the beginning of Typhoid Mary. Told through the eyes of a teenage girl working for the Department of Sanitation, Deadly is the story of both Typhoid Mary and Prudence, who has dream of overcoming disease and death.
Before reading this, I had rudimentary knowledge of Typhoid Mary. It's sort of just an expression now, isn't it? But this was a real life woman. A healthy carrier of the typhoid bacteria, she unknowingly infected at least 53 people with the disease. When confronted with the idea that she was a healthy carrier, she refused to believe it.
Deadly, told in diary form, is the story of Prudence, a second generation immigrant who has a thirst for scientific knowledge that frowned upon in young women. She obtains a job with the Department of Sanitation with George Soper who figures out from whom the typhoid is originating. Prudence is a very thoughtful, curious girl with a great mind for science and a need to learn about disease and death after the death of her brother. With her father missing in action, she lives alone with her mother in a tenement. I thought she was a great character and I liked reading her diary, or "tablet" entries and seeing life in New York at this time. It was very interesting. I found the whole story of Mary fascinating and I liked how the book felt real. All the emotions were very genuine even as most of the language was very precise and almost clinical like Prudence. Really this is a fascinating book and I'd recommend it to anyone. My only caveat is that it makes you want to wash your hands a whole whole lot.