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Fever

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3.67  ·  Rating details ·  9,527 ratings  ·  1,441 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.
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Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 18th 2014 by Scribner (first published 2013)
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  • Fever by Mary Beth Keane
    Fever
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    Release date: Mar 12, 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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    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    Average rating 3.67  · 
    Rating details
     ·  9,527 ratings  ·  1,441 reviews


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    Will Byrnes
    Before you start reading lets see those hands. Both sides please. You call that clean? Are you kidding me? Ive seen cleaner hands in mud wrestling. Try using soap this time, and I dont want to see anything but skin under those fingernails. Go ahead. Ill wait. (A very large foot tap, tap, taps. Eyes rise to scan the ceiling. A puff of exasperation is emittedwaiting) Lets see. Both sides. All right. I guess that will have to do. Sit down. Go ahead.
    In the East River, between Queens and the Bronx,
    ...more
    Beverly
    Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
    DeB MaRtEnS
    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
    ...more
    Chrissie
    Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: bio, usa, medical, hf, love, downpour, alt
    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
    ...more
    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
    ...more
    Sabrina


    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!
    Erin
    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
    ...more
    LG
    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 isnt 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
    Lisa Dunckley
    Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    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
    ...more
    Orsolya
    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 Mallons emotional point of view in Fever.

    Fever isnt a traditional bio-fiction novel, as it doesnt follow Marys 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 somewhat vague
    ...more
    Debra
    Dec 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    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
    ...more
    Diane S ☔
    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 ...more
    Karen Kay
    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
    Diane
    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
    ...more
    Allie
    Dec 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

    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
    ...more
    Carrie
    Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
    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
    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
    ...more
    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
    ...more
    Laura Jean
    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.
    Nikki
    Fever is a novelisation of the life of Mary Mallon, the famous Typhoid Mary. It attempts to dig into why she didnt 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 doesnt 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 along ...more
    Maureen Timerman
    Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    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
    ...more
    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.
    Jane
    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
    ...more
    Yah Yah
    Historical fiction is so wild to me because I know what's going to happen, like you know the person's life story but getting an inside view to their emotions hurts too, because even though Mary was wrong to go back to cooking it was all she knew and it was all that made her happy. And though Dr. Soper seems an asshole who looked down at Mary, he was also just a dude very concerned with public health and the people that Mary accidentally killed. Damn. Anyways. It's a good ass book.
    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
    ...more
    Quirkyreader
    Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
    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.
    Shiloah
    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 didnt live a life I would want to emulate. Still, there is much to learn from her story. ...more
    Book Concierge
    Few people recognize the name Mary Mallon, but virtually everyone knows of Typhoid Mary. This is her story.

    Keane does a fine job with this work of historical fiction. Her Mary is at once sympathetic and infuriating. A strong-willed Irish immigrant who takes great pride in her cooking with good reason and who needs to work to support herself and her man, Mary feels attacked and persecuted when shes told she is making her employers sick and must stop cooking for a living.

    Mary is a woman trapped
    ...more
    Karen Rush
    Mar 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    This is a fascinating but sad story of Mary Mallon, popularly known as Typhoid Mary, thought to be responsible for infecting dozens of people with typhoid although she showed no sign of the sickness herself. As a cook for multiple families, it was thought Mary spread this contagion via the food she cooked. Mary ends up being taken by force, isolated, prodded, tested, and treated like an outcast. The health department of the times went well outside of what are normal boundaries today. Although it ...more
    Bonny
    Jan 20, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: fiction, kindle, medicine
    Fever by Mary Beth Keane provided me with a good introduction to the life of Mary Mallon (aka Typhoid Mary), but there was a lot of information that would have made the book more complete for me if it had been included. Almost everyone participating in our online book club was busy googling while they read Fever, looking for more basic information about typhoid fever, Mary Mallon's reasons for seeming to refuse any responsibility as a typhoid carrier, and why even though Mary Mallon was the ...more
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    Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 3 Jan 05, 2016 09:33AM  
    2017 Reading Chal...: Fever 1 14 May 17, 2015 09:19PM  

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    1,432 followers
    Mary Beth Keane's first novel, The Walking People (2009) was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, and her second novel, Fever (2013) was named a best book of 2013 by NPR Books, Library Journal, and The San Francisco Chronicle. In 2011 she was named to the National Book Foundation's "5 under 35." She was a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow in Fiction and her new novel, Ask Again, Yes, is forthcoming in ...more

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