Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Deadly by Julie Chibbaro

In the early 1900s the idea of a healthy carrier of a disease was unknown.  But then an outbreak of typhoid became and became link to a cook.  And thus was the beginning of Typhoid Mary.   Told through the eyes of a teenage girl working for the Department of Sanitation, Deadly is the story of both Typhoid Mary and Prudence, who has dream of overcoming disease and death.

Her lady came down the stairs, and when we put to her the same inquiry, her eyes brightened.  "Why, of course, Mary Mallon," she exclaimed, "she was such a darling help when the children were ill."  p.94
Before reading this, I had rudimentary knowledge of Typhoid Mary.  It's sort of just an expression now, isn't it?  But this was a real life woman.  A healthy carrier of the typhoid bacteria, she unknowingly infected at least 53 people with the disease.  When confronted with the idea that she was a healthy carrier, she refused to believe it.

Deadly, told in diary form, is the story of Prudence, a second generation immigrant who has a thirst for scientific knowledge that frowned upon in young women.  She obtains a job with the Department of Sanitation with George Soper who figures out from whom the typhoid is originating.  Prudence is a very thoughtful, curious girl with a great mind for science and a need to learn about disease and death after the death of her brother.  With her father missing in action, she lives alone with her mother in a tenement.  I thought she was a great character and I liked reading her diary, or "tablet" entries and seeing life in New York at this time.  It was very interesting.  I found the whole story of Mary fascinating and I liked how the book felt real.  All the emotions were very genuine even as most of the language was very precise and almost clinical like Prudence.  Really this is a fascinating book and I'd recommend it to anyone.  My only caveat is that it makes you want to wash your hands a whole whole lot.

ARC provided by Traveling ARC Tours
Publish date: February 22, 2011
Hogwarts: Muggle Studies


  1. Wow what an interesting idea for a book. I know absolutely nothing about Thyphoid Mary.

  2. Wonderful review! I have this one on my wishlist, it sound so good. But I'm not sure of I need to wash my hands any more than I already do(looks down at my dry as leaves-hands LOL).

  3. This sounds truly interesting, I love a good historical fiction story. Love the cover too!

  4. @Amanda - It really was a different idea and very informative.

    @Ladybug - Haha, I know, me too!

    @Nina - I like the cover too.

    @brandyreneebruce - Thanks!

    @Juju - It was!

  5. This kind of reminds me that documentary of a sanatorium. Chilling stories were told by those who used to work in the sanatorium. But, anyway, this book isn't part of the category horror, so, it's safe to read. :D

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