Elise B. (Macedonia, OH)
I have heard the label "Typhoid Mary" before, but had never actually thought much about the fact that there was an actual person that carried this nickname. I felt that Mary Beth Keane did an excellent job weaving fact and fiction to profile this infamous woman. I found it just as interesting to read about life in New York City in the early 1900's. My great-grandparents were also immigrants in New York City during this same time period and I have a greater appreciation of what their life might have been like. I would highly recommend this book for book clubs because I think it could open up a lot of discussion about various of ethical issues; some of which we face today i.e. AIDS and Hepatitis.
Darcy C. (San Diego, CA)
What a Wretched & Wonderful Book!
We've all heard about Typhoid Mary, but who was she? Was she real or just a made-up character? Well, she WAS real and this fabulous book tells her story. This is a woman with moxy and self-confidence (at least outwardly) and stamina that enabled her to last through six day work weeks and 12 hours per day. Not only did I learn about this tremendous woman, Mary Mallone, I also was put right into the streets and tenements of the early 1900's. Life was so hard and so dirty and it's hard to understand that life was not even 100 years ago. I loved this book and learning about Mary and it also was a superb historical-fiction. Get this book! It was an absorbing read. I gobbled the words down, typhoid be darned!!
Donna T. (Tacoma, WA)
Coming to like the woman known as Typhoid Mary
Fever is very well written and easy to follow. Unexpectedly I came to like Mary Mallone. Mary, like so many of us,long denied truths that were evident to most others. She made me stop and take a look at my life, wondering what I might be denying about my self. Mary Best Keane did a great job of researching the culture of the era as well as medical and social issues. She helped me to feel like I was living in the early 20th century. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Historical Fiction and to book clubs that like discussing moral and ethical issues posed in books of this type.
L.S. (Westford, MA)
It's the kind of book where you dread the last page because the story ends. The characters stay with you after that last page. Mary Beth Keane brilliantly brings the characters to life and makes you feel like you are right in the midst of their lives with all the frustration, cruelty and helplessness. I found myself cheering Mary on as she fights for her freedom and tries to hold on to some little happiness. I'll never think of Typhoid Mary the same way before I read this book.
Abby D. (Montclair, NJ)
Disappointed with Fever
I had high hopes for this book but I felt pretty let down. The story was pretty interesting in general but I kept waiting for the plot to pick up and it never did. It was generally predictable with a few minor twists. I think the author could have done a better job with developing the main characters by revealing a more of their motivations behind their actions and thoughts. However, I did enjoy the depiction of New York in the early 1900s. I work in New York and it was refreshing to read about the past of a city I know pretty well. I would not recommend this book.
Mary S. (Pinson, AL)
Fever is a wonderful story. I finished reading the book a few days ago, and I can't stop thinking about it. I was amazed that the medical and science community could arrest and isolate someone without more proof that she was a carrier. I felt so sorry for Mary Mallon. I realize that these scientists were trying to protect the community from infection, but I put myself in Mary's position. She was healthy young woman; and the media made her out to be nothing more than a disease by labeling her Typhoid Mary. I loved the book, Keane has written a fascinating and also heartbreaking human story.
Mary Ann B. (Louisville, KY)
Sometimes non-fiction books read like fiction.The book Fever does the opposite. Ms. Keane takes real people,real incidents, and creates a world that readers come to live in. Mary Mallon, given the name Typhoid Mary by the press, is a compelling character whose story you want to know. The book's atmosphere puts you in the early 20th century, and what was known, and still unknown about disease causes and prevention.