Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Source: From HMH Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. This in no way altered my opinion of this book.
What happens when a person's reputation has been forever damaged? With archival photographs and text among other primary sources, this riveting biography of Mary Mallon by the Sibert medalist and Newbery Honor winner Susan Bartoletti looks beyond the tabloid scandal of Mary's controversial life. How she was treated by medical and legal officials reveals a lesser-known story of human and constitutional rights, entangled with the science of pathology and enduring questions about who Mary Mallon really was. How did her name become synonymous with deadly disease? And who is really responsible for the lasting legacy of Typhoid Mary? This thorough exploration includes an author's note, timeline, annotated source notes, and bibliography.
Terrible Typhoid Mary is a nonfiction book about Mary Mallon, one of the first healthy carriers of Typhoid in the US. It chronicles her time as a cook spreading Typhoid by accident and her unwillingness to help the Board of Health. Before reading this I really had no clue anything about Mary and the disease - yes, I knew the name Typhoid Mary but her story wasn't something I knew. This was a great book about her and her story but also about the difficulties of the time period.
Mary did not trust medical doctor and she was not sick, there was filth and she was considered a clean woman, and she did not intentionally spread her disease (at least not initially). Some might say that after she was informed about the issues she could have prevented spreading it afterward but she was a stubborn woman it seems.
I found the book fascinating and really enjoyed the way it portrayed Mary and the health people involved with her capture. I did find some of it pretty unjust but even after being informed Mary was a pain about everything and so I can't really feel too sorry for her. It was a very informative book and if you would like to learn about her and the time this is a great way to do it. The author includes citations, clarifications, an index, and images as well.