Reader reviews and comments on Fever, plus links to write your own review.

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Fever by Mary Beth Keane X
Fever by Mary Beth Keane
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2013, 320 pages
    Mar 2014, 320 pages

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There are currently 28 reader reviews for Fever
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Jean N. (New Richmond, OH) (03/16/13)

I was totally taken by this book- from the opening pages, until the very end.
Mary was so strong and courageous. I admired her as a person, yet I had serious questions about some of her choices.
The descriptions of the early 1900's in New York City were fascinating. Learning the whole story of Typhoid Mary was eye opening.
I would definitely recommend this book to fans of historical fiction. Fever would also be a great book for book groups- there are so many issues to discuss and debate.
I have been an avid reader since I was a child. Fever is a book- and Mary is a woman- that I would classify as "unforgettable".
Donna T. (Tacoma, WA) (03/14/13)

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.
Abby D. (Montclair, NJ) (03/13/13)

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.
L.S. (Westford, MA) (03/13/13)

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.
Mary S. (Pinson, AL) (03/11/13)

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) (03/10/13)

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.
Melissa P. (Greenville, NY) (03/06/13)

This was a historical fiction book about Mary Mallon, better known as Typhoid Mary. Mary was believed to spread typhoid through her cooking, though she never showed symptoms of the illness herself. This book details how the Department of Health took Mary into custody and forced her to live on Brother Island in isolation for years. It details the court case to get Mary her freedom to leave the island and what happens to her as she returns to the "real world". Mary is portrayed as an intelligent yet stubborn woman. This book also talks of her relationship with her companion, Alfred, who has a host of issues of his own.

I found this book interesting. I find it amazing that this woman was isolated on an island for so many years. The medical tests that she was put through were intrusive and degrading. Yet, there were enough people she cooked for who took ill that makes the belief that she was a carrier have some credibility. I enjoyed this read.

I received a copy of this book from BookBrowse in exchange for a review.
Becky M. (Crumpler, NC) (03/05/13)

Not your average historical fiction
Normally, I do not read historical fiction, because it is, after all, history--which I find difficult to read--and fiction--which sort of negates the history aspect. But I was intrigued by the topic, Typhoid Mary, and the fact that I knew so little about a woman whose name I had heard all my life. Fever captured my interest immediately and held on to it throughout the novel. Mary became more than a well-developed character. She became, instead, a woman of intrigue and conflicting emotions. There were elements of her personality which will resonate with most women--the need for independence, love, and respect. The fact that she lived 100 years ago only added to her appeal. Keane has melded the facts of that frightening time with the humanity of her characters and the quickly changing ethics of the early twentieth century. Still, Keane does not succumb to flippant fictional techniques and instead manages to write history in a serious, direct way while allowing her imagination to create believable scenarios and characters of depth.

Beyond the Book:
  A Short History of Typhoid

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