Emily's Reviews > Deadly

Deadly by Julie Chibbaro
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Jun 25, 2011

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bookshelves: 2011-reading-challenge, historical-fiction, ya-fiction

It's 1906 and fifteen-year-old Prudence feels trapped by what little she learns at "Mrs. Browning's School for Girls." Her eager mind is thrilled when she gets a job taking notes for the department of Health. Her "chief," as she calls him, is trying to find out the source of a series of typhoid outbreaks. Prudence is part of the team that realizes that Irish immigrant and cook Mary Mallon, who is outwardly totally healthy, is a carrier of the typhoid fever and has been unknowingly infecting the families she works for.

This was interesting historical fiction, and I love that it gives us an up-close look at Typhoid Mary. Prudence tells the story through her journal and is a believable character from that time, frustrated at how little is expected of her as a woman and flabbergasted when she learns that there is a medical school that will take women. Prudence struggles with various elements related to the case, including the inhumane treatment of Mary, though she also understand the medical threat Mary poses. I did find her language a little clumsy, but that was simply personal preference. The Author's note is good in terms of placing the actual history, but I did wish for more information. Overall a good, solid historical fiction.

Reading scavenger hunt: disease

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