Monday, March 09, 2020
37. Fever 1793
First sentence: I woke to the sound of a mosquito whining in my left ear and my mother screeching in the right.
Premise/plot: Fever 1793 is a historical coming of age novel set in Philadelphia during the devastating yellow fever epidemic. No matter the decade or century an epidemic would be scary, terrifying even. But at a time when doctors were absolutely clueless yet confident that they knew what they were doing, it’s extremely terrifying. Mattie Cook and her family are troubled by the outbreak, yet what is the right course of action?! To flee to the country side and leave the family business untended and boarded up? To separate? Some stay and some go? Who would they stay with in the country? Should they stay open for business? Who should run errands? What places are safe? What places should be avoided? How does one make that determination of what is safe and what is dangerous? After all, one must have food to eat even if one closes the coffee shop. Should one still visit friends? Go to church? Does one trust “the news” as to what is really happening and how many have actually died? Is blaming foreigners and refugees really the best use of time and energy?
My thoughts: I believe this is only the second time I have read this one. I definitely liked it as an adult. I won’t say that every single reader will find it super compelling and impossible to put down. That would be silly. Especially if this one should ever be assigned reading for school. But the historical elements will appeal to those that enjoy and seek out historical fiction. The epidemic should appeal to those that enjoy and seek out the I Survived...book series.
Would I have loved it as a kid? Probably not because of the death toll. This epidemic was deadly and this book is realistic that this epidemic was costly to families and communities. But not all young readers are as sensitive as I once was.
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