Monday, April 15, 2013

Audio Book Review of Fever by Mary Beth Keane read by Candace Thaxton

Fever: A Novel | [Mary Beth Keane]
Fever by Mary Beth Keane
Read by Candace Thaxton

Publisher's Summary
A bold, mesmerizing novel about the woman known as "Typhoid Mary", the first known healthy carrier of typhoid fever in the early 20th century - by an award-winning writer chosen as one of "5 Under 35" by the National Book Foundation.
Mary Mallon was a courageous, headstrong Irish immigrant woman who bravely came to America alone, fought hard to climb up from the lowest rung of the domestic service ladder, and discovered in herself an uncanny, and coveted, talent for cooking. Working in the kitchens of the upper class, she left a trail of disease in her wake, until one enterprising and ruthless "medical engineer" proposed the inconceivable notion of the "asymptomatic carrier" - and from then on Mary Mallon was a hunted woman.
In order to keep New York's citizens safe from Mallon, the Department of Health sent her to North Brother Island where she was kept in isolation from 1907-1910. She was released under the condition that she never work as a cook again. Yet for Mary - spoiled by her status and income and genuinely passionate about cooking - most domestic and factory jobs were heinous. She defied the edict.
Bringing early 20th-century New York alive - the neighborhoods, the bars, the park being carved out of upper Manhattan, the emerging skyscrapers, the boat traffic - Fever is as fiercely compelling asTyphoid Mary herself, an ambitious retelling of a forgotten life. In the hands of Mary Beth Keane, Mary Mallon becomes an extraordinarily dramatic, vexing, sympathetic, uncompromising, and unforgettable character.
©2013 Mary Beth Keane (P)2013 Simon & Schuster Audio

My Take:  I really enjoyed this book.  It kept my attention and had me listening to it when I normally wouldn't.  I was always trying to find reasons to listen.  I really didn't know much about Mary Mallon Or Typhoid Mary as she was called.  I found myself feeling sorry for her during her first confinement on North Brother Island but I just got frustrated with her when she defied the conditions of her release and went ahead and cooked anyway.  I mean even though she claimed that she wasn't the cause of the spread of typhoid through her cooking I would think that she would be extra careful if there even was a slight chance that she was the carrier.  I did have to remind myself that this was a historical fiction book as the author made it seem like you were reading a real account.  I did do some research myself and found out the facts about Mary and the author has it pretty spot on.  My least favorite character was Alfred and since he was made up I don't feel bad about that at all.  I disliked the way he would take advantage of Mary and them he basically just forgot about her when she was on the island the first time.  I did feel like the doctors could have explained Mary's situation better to her.  The way that she was taken into custody was pretty bad. Also according to the tests they took from her all the time she was benign at least 1/2 of the time.

I thought that the Narrator did an excellent job.  I liked the way she slipped into a slight Irish accent whenever Mary was talking.  

I would recommend this book to anyone.  It is very entertaining and you will learn a little too.

I received a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion from Simon and Schuster audio.

1 comment:

  1. I read this one in print and loved it, so fascinating. I also felt sorry for Mary and was also a bit upset with her when she went back to cooking, why couldn't she just be a maid but then it also confused me how just cooking could spread the virus and they were never really good about explaining anything to Mary and the way her situation was handled you couldn't blame her ire. A fascinating for sure! I also think it would be a great one for bookclubs. if you'd like you can check out my review on my blog.


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