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. ...more
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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
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
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
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
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
5 stars all the way.
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
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
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.
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