|Terrible typhoid Mary : a true story of the deadliest cook in America|
Author: Bartoletti, Susan Campbell
A riveting biography uncovers the true story of Mary Mallon, a.k.a. Typhoid Mary, one of the most notorious and misunderstood women in American History.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 7.20
Points: 5.0 Quiz: 175217
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 8.30
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 66580
Common Core Standards
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 7 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 7.RI Key Ideas & Details
Grade 7 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 7.RI Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Kirkus Reviews (-) (06/15/15)
School Library Journal (05/01/15)
Booklist (+) (06/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (09/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 05/01/2015 Gr 5 Up—This well-researched biography of Mary Mallon, also known as Typhoid Mary, begins in 1906, when Mallon was hired as a cook for a wealthy family vacationing in Oyster Bay, Long Island. The outbreak of typhoid that swept through the household a few weeks later turned out to be a pivotal event that forever changed her life. George Soper, a sanitation engineer and typhoid expert, was hired to discover the source of the disease. He eventually determined that Mallon was what was known as a healthy carrier: although she experienced no symptoms of typhoid, her body continued to produce the bacteria, which she inadvertently shed. Soper took his discovery to the New York City Board of Health, and soon thereafter, Mallon was arrested and quarantined against her will on North Brother Island. Mallon has often been described as ignorant and a menace to society due to her refusal to stop working as a cook when she was later briefly released from quarantine, but Bartoletti tells the woman's story with empathy and understanding. The author also explores the myriad violations of Mallon's civil rights and her unusually harsh treatment in comparison to other healthy typhoid carriers (nationwide 50 carriers were identified at the time, but only Mary was quarantined). Energetic, even charming prose (chapter headings include "In Which Mrs. Warren Has a Servant Problem") will easily engage readers. Pair this work with Gail Jarrow's Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary (Boyds Mills, 2015). VERDICT Middle grade biography lovers will gravitate toward this compelling title.—Ragan O'Malley, Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn, NY - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 06/01/2015 *Starred Review* Little is known about Mary Mallon, better known as Typhoid Mary, apart from what can be garnered from case studies and wildly sensational newspaper articles, but Bartoletti impressively fills in the gaps with illuminating historical context and lively descriptions of events. At the turn of the twentieth century, typhoid could swiftly kill thousands, and the public health department would go to great lengths to stave off an epidemic. Once investigators identified Mallon as an unwitting spreader of the disease, she was quarantined and tested against her will, but her imprisonment raised questions. Can the health department go too far when protecting the public? Why was Mallon locked up but not scores of other healthy carriers who infected far more people? While addressing these questions, Bartoletti also explains the prejudice that led Mallon—a single, lower-class, immigrant woman—to be treated differently, the extent to which yellow journalism had a hand in Mallon’s infamy, and the generalized suspicion of science and medicine (which is still alive and kicking today) that contributed to her demonization. Expertly weaving together both historical background and contemporary knowledge about disease and public health, Bartoletti enlivens Mallon’s story with engrossing anecdotes and provocative critical inquiry while debunking misconceptions. Extensive back matter and illustrations round out this completely captivating volume. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 09/01/2015 “If you’re squeamish and don’t like to read about germs, then you should stop now and find some other book to read.” And with that provocative opening comment, Bartoletti should have readers ready and riveted for her account of Mary Mallon, the early twentieth-century Irish immigrant who, as an asymptomatic carrier of typhoid bacteria, infected the well-to-do families that employed her to cook. Bartoletti covers much the same ground as Gail Jarrow’s Fatal Fever (BCCB 4/15), but with a different emphasis and narrative style. Whereas Jarrow tackled the topic as a medical mystery with the germ fighters in lead roles (albeit with explicit sympathy for Mallon’s personal plight), Bartoletti delivers a fast-moving biography of Mallon herself. The heavy-handed tactics of sanitary engineer, George Soper, and the public health officials who twice incarcerated Mallon on a New York island are cast in a different and decidedly dimmer view in Bartoletti’s account. This is enthusiastic and accessible, but it remains respectful, offering understanding and empathy for the numerous people affected by the outbreaks that followed in Mallon’s wake. It’s a rare treat for information book readers to happen upon two fresh accounts of a fascinating episode in the history of disease control, so be sure to pair this with the Jarrow for a compete picture. A gallery of black and white photos, a timeline, annotated citations, a topically organized bibliography are appended; the bound book will include an index. EB - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.