Keane, Mary Beth. Fever

Set in early-twentieth-century New York, this novel is about the first person in America identified as a healthy carrier of Typhoid Fever.  We know her as “Typhoid Mary.”  Her real name is Mary Mallon.  Mary emigrated from Ireland as a teenager and worked her way up the domestic ladder, through toil and talent, to cook for many wealthy New York families.  Mary was initially unaware that she caused her employers and their children to become ill and die.   However, when she is told that she is a carrier and sent to North Brother Island to be kept in isolation, she can no longer deny this fact.  Or can she?  This novel reads like a medical mystery, and it is fascinating both in terms of medical advances as well as medical ethics.  It is also a psychological study of one woman who was unwilling to change her life, even if it meant saving others.  I highly recommend this story.

RA Blog Categories: