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3.70  ·  Rating details ·  11,650 ratings  ·  1,710 reviews
Mary Beth Keane, named one of the 5 Under 35 by the National Book Foundation, has written a spectacularly bold and intriguing novel about the woman known as "Typhoid Mary," the first person in America identified as a healthy carrier of Typhoid Fever.

On the eve of the twentieth century, Mary Mallon emigrated from Ireland at age fifteen to make her way in New York City.
Hardcover, 306 pages
Published March 12th 2013 by Scribner (first published 2013)
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Chickadee This book was excellent. Highly recommend.
Sandra King Some sexual suggestion and desires but no sexual encounters described. No bad language.

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Average rating 3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,650 ratings  ·  1,710 reviews

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Will Byrnes
Before you start reading let’s see those hands. Both sides please. You call that clean? Are you kidding me? I’ve seen cleaner hands in mud wrestling. Try using soap this time, and I don’t want to see anything but skin under those fingernails. Go ahead. I’ll wait. (A very large foot tap, tap, taps. Eyes rise to scan the ceiling. A puff of exasperation is emitted…waiting) Let’s see. Both sides. All right. I guess that will have to do. Sit down. Go ahead.
In the East River, between Queens and th
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
Walking the fine line between fiction and real events, Mary Beth Keane provides readers with the vivid life story of Mary Mallon and how she earned the name Typhoid Mary. An Irish-born cook, Mary Mallon arrived in America around 1883 and served in a number of households among New York’s wealthier families towards the end of the 19th and into the 20th centuries. While in the employ of these households, a number of family members developed typhoid, a crippling disease that left many quite sick and ...more
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa, love, medical, alt, bio, hf, downpour
The start is superb! Candace Thaxton does the narration of the audiobook. Her tone perfectly expresses how Typhoid Mary views what is happening to her, both the amazement and incredulity of that which she is accused of and horror as loved ones die. Could she be the cause of others' deaths when she is so healthy herself?!

And now, on completion, I have to say that I enjoyed every minute spent listening. I loved Mary's Irish brogue and the details of life in NYC at the turn of the century - even t
3.5 stars I was intrigued and interested to learn more after coming across Mary Beth Keane's fictional rendering, in her novel, Fever, about whose unfortunate life coined the phrase, later let slip so mindlessly from between the lips of ignorant kids: Typhoid Mary.

As children, we didn't understand. The intimation was that it meant an impending catastrophe, either in the force of one person or a group. I think we may have muddled it with "Typhoon", which carried a sense of ominous doom - but was
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

Fever is a fascinating novel that mixes historical fact and a fictional narrative to tell the tale of 'Typhoid Mary', the woman held responsible for several deadly outbreaks of the disease in the US around the turn of the nineteenth century.

In 1907, Mary Mallon was arrested at the direction of the Department of Health. A forty year old, unmarried, Irish immigrant cook she stood accused of spreading Typhoid, a bacterial disease transmitted by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the
Oct 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Was Mary Mallone (Typhoid Mary) a killer or a victim? I will admit that there were times throughout this novel that I found myself wanting to strangle her and at other times I wanted to be her advocate and friend. I really admired her strong work ethic and fierce independence while questioning her cleanliness in the kitchen (double dipping...double yuck!).

Any novel that evokes these kinds of mixed emotions from me gets high marks (stars). Well done!
Nov 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Find the enhanced version of this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

It wasn't my intention to start in on New York history, but it appears I'm on a little bit of a kick. Between Ellen Horan's 31 Bond Street and now Mary Beth Keane's Fever, I am getting quite the education. The latter is of course the topic of this review and fair warning, I'm going to analyze content here so if that is going to bother you, abandon this review while you can.

The Big Apple really comes
Lisa Dunckley
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I knew that Typhoid Mary was a real person, who'd unknowingly infected people with Typhoid Fever, and that after she agreed not to continue working as a cook she did so anyway. ...And that is ALL I knew. Mary Beth Keane's book gives life to Mary Mallon's story.

Mary came to the US from Ireland, and she was brave, strong, proud, and determined. She was a talented cook, and that was part of the problem. As we now know, Mary was an asymptomatic carrier of Typhoid. She worked her way up the servant s
May 24, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
“Typhoid Mary” has intrigued me ever since I learned about her, so I was glad to discover this book. Unfortunately, the most deadly thing about it is the story. Life isn’t always drama and suspense, of course, but a reader expects more from a fictionalized biography. Perhaps the story would have been better told as non-fiction, à la Henrietta Lacks. Or, if the people who dealt with Mallon were as fascinated by her as we still are, this is probably one of those extremely rare stories better told ...more
Mary Mallon (1869-1938), so called Typhoid Mary, was an Irish immigrant who came to New York. “She began as a laundress, but with an innate talent for cooking, Mary ascended the domestic-service ladder and worked as a cook for upper-class families.” However, in 1907 it was discovered that she was the first “healthy carrier” of Typhoid Fever in America. “To prevent Mary from further spreading the disease, the New York Department of Health isolated her on North Brother Island for three years. A co ...more
Diane S ☔
Sep 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Well written, Mary's life was definitely well researched but I think I expected a wider view from this novel. It really does mainly center on just Mary's life and not on the medical research or overall typhoid picture in any detail. In our present day, she probably would have not been arrested and treated as she did and I did feel sorry for her in places. She had such a hard time grasping that she could ever be a carrier without being sick herself. She was not a very likable figure and unfortuna ...more
Dec 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads-won
***received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads

This was a great book. Wonderfully written and a very interesting tale of Mary Mallone (Typhoid Mary). Mary Mallone was the first person in the United States identified as an asymptomatic carrier for Typhoid fever. She worked as a cook and many became sick and some died after she prepared food for them. She adamantly refused to acknowledge that anyone became sick as a result of her preparing food for them. She maintained that she was a h
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Typhoid Mary. Whether one views her as victim or villain, her story is an amazing one. Although admitting to taking historical liberties, Mary Beth Keane portrays Mary Mallon’s emotional point of view in “Fever”.

“Fever” isn’t a traditional bio-fiction novel, as it doesn’t follow Mary’s life from beginning to end but rather jumps right into the action of her being accused of carrying and spreading Typhoid, her subsequent “lock up” at a hospital, and her court trial.

Initially, the novel is somewh
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I had heard of Typhoid Mary, but not many of the details. Keane does a very nice job blending fact & fiction into an engrossing, smoothly-written novel.
March is Women's History Month and St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17th, and Mary Beth Keane's novel Fever, a fictional story about the infamous Typhoid Mary, an Irish immigrant who was blamed for the deaths of over twenty people from typhoid in New York City in the early years of the twentieth century is a perfect read for both.

Keane did a great deal of research on Mary Mallon, an Irish immigrant who became a cook for wealthy families in New York City. Her website contains an amazing t
Dec 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing

I read this title because I'm fascinated with tales of diseases, how they spread, and the human stories behind them. I didn't really know anything about Mary Mallon going in, other than that she gave a lot of people typhoid and people who come to work with the flu or pinkeye are likely to get called "Typhoid Mary." But I was hooked by the first few pages and soon was reading this book while brushing my teeth, drying my hair, even while sitting in traffic waiting for a train to pass. The setting
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people who are patient
Recommended to Carrie by: Potsdam Library New Book Shelf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Philip Fierlinger
Mar 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I love historic novels and this is easily one of the best I've read.

In many ways it's a page turning mystery thriller - but not at all in the typical sense. It's a ride through time, but goes deeper into the personal habits, daily routines and the inner psyche than most historic novels - not in a sinister way which is more common for this genre, but in a way that's sympathetic to the people swept up in circumstances of the day.

It's told in a deeply familiar, personal, strong inner voice about
Rose Ann
So interesting! Highly recommend!

I remember vaguely hearing of 'Typhoid Mary', but never really knew her story.

Mary Beth Keane does an amazing job of combining fact and fiction, bringing Mary Mallon's story to life. I was a little nervous that the facts wouldn't be there, but they were.

I was fascinated by the story of Mary Mallon. Her life on North Brother Island, in NYC, where she was quarantined until her death in 1938.

I had never even realized such an island existed. I researched it a bit mo
Laura Jean
Apr 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
A sympathetic view of Typhoid Mary. The author takes into account the recent advances and changes in how the transfer of disease was considered in the early twentieth century. She also considers the ways that gender, socio-economic status, and the view towards immigrants, especially the Irish, affected the situation.
Sometimes the style of writing was hard to read. I'd be reading along and suddenly realize the voice had changed. But, overall a good tale. Makes me want to wash my hands, lol.

3.25 stars
Oct 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fever is a novelisation of the life of Mary Mallon, the famous ‘Typhoid Mary’. It attempts to dig into why she didn’t stop cooking for people despite knowing the risks; it also tries to provide her with inner life and give the reader someone human to sympathise with. It works relatively well; Mary emerges as a hard-working woman who doesn’t want to believe that something she loves could be making people sick, who struggles with the idea that maybe she is to blame, who has to find a way to get al ...more
Maureen Timerman
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
Reading about Mary Mallon, you feel the injustice that was done to her. Yet, if it were my child or relative that died, I certainly would feel differently.
She was stripped of her life, literally, and put on an island in the Hudson River, North Brother Island. Left with very little contact, to the outside world. How could they do that to her? Written up in the press as Germ Lady, Typhoid Mary. Yet a dairyman who also is a carrier of the germ, is allowed to stay at home. He killed over a hundred
Denis A.
Awesome, awesome book! Kind of surprised that I grew to like this read so much but I saw myself siding with Mary Mallon and her antics. Felt sorry for her at times, but surprisingly she doesn't ever feel sorry for herself despite the tragic figure she becomes.

5 stars all the way.
Where I got the book: from the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program.

This is the story of Mary Mallon, aka the Typhoid Mary who was accused of willfully passing typhoid to New York families for whom she cooked in the early decades of the 1900s. It's a set-the-record-straight story, told essentially from Mary's point of view, and therefore sympathetic to her.

Pretty interesting story, on the whole. Keane tries to encapsulate Mary's character in the account, and that in fact made it a bit harder for
Ruth Turner

A compelling blend of fact and fiction that creates an unforgettable story.

I didn't particularly like Mary. I thought her stuck up and heartless; lacking in remorse for the sickness and deaths she caused.

I skimmed through the chapters about Alfred in the aftermath of his accident. He was an unlikeable character and I had no interest in, or sympathy for, his battles with alcoholism and drug dependency.

Not liking the two main characters in no way affected my enjoyment of the book, however. It was
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story was enjoyable and a fast read. It was a fictitious account of Typhoid Mary and early 20th century New York City.

I liked reading about The City in its early 20th century splendour.

There is also a darker side to this story, but I won't say what it is because I don't want to spoil it.

So if you are in the mood for some short historical fiction give this book a go.
Jan 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
A very well written fictional account of the life of Mary Mallon also known as Typhoid Mary who was an asymptomatic carrier of typhoid in early 20th century USA who spread the disease whilst working as a cook in different places.
She was a very empathetic character, well portrayed and misunderstood and her treatment by the authorities was pretty appalling as they incarcerate her on a hospital island and remove her freedom and dignity. Very apt in todays pandemic it made great reading.
A compelling read indeed. I was absorbed start to finish. I was only familiar with the name Typhoid Mary. This book brought her story alive and answered any questions I had. Sadly, she didn’t live a life I would want to emulate. Still, there is much to learn from her story.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 3 Jan 05, 2016 09:33AM  
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Mary Beth Keane attended Barnard College and the University of Virginia, where she received an MFA. She was awarded a John S. Guggenheim fellowship for fiction writing, and has received citations from the National Book Foundation, PEN America, and the Hemingway Society. She is the author of The Walking People, Fever, and most recently, Ask Again, Yes, which was a New York Times Best Seller. Both F ...more

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