In the early nineteen-hundreds, sixteen-year-old Prudence Galewski leaves school to take a job assisting the head epidemiologist at New York's Department of Health and Sanitation, investigating the intriguing case of "Typhoid Mary," a seemingly healthy woman who is infecting others with typhoid fever. Includes a historical note by the author.
Call me nerd or dork or obsessed health nut, but I really appreciated deadly's focus on typhoid, particularly the story about Typhoid Mary, when we were first understanding how infection actually worked. Those were exciting times - and I tend to forget that as textbooks give you the dry facts without the emotions that surely coursed through the scientists.
deadly is an excellent historical read with a narrator who will surely infect you with the same fascination that she experiences while on the edge of discovering the source of the typhoid epidemic. It was startling to see the various reactions when fingers get pointed at Mary - the servants and Irish immigrants who want to protect their own, the infected families who only see a healthy cook who is able to nurse them back to health, the Department who want to locate and isolate the source of infection, and Prudence's inner turmoil of how the accusations will affect an actual human's life.
I'm not sure what to make of the ending. Although I am really pleased with how Prudence turned out, the ending seemed a little too wishy-washy and I wish it provided a little more resolution to what happens to Typhoid Mary, Prudence, and the rest of the characters involved .
Prudence has always been fascinated by the sciences. She longs to find a way to save lives from disease and
Soon, she aquires a job in the Department of Health, where they've started investigating a mysterious case of typhoid outbreaks.
Deadly is written in the form of sixteen year old Prudence Galewski's diary entries. She started writing ever since her father left them. Ever since he joined the war and never came back. Is he dead? They have no way of finding out, but they've been waiting for nine years.
I expected more out of Deadly. Judging by the title and the cover, I expected more action, more significant things to happen. I was pretty disappointed by the fact that there was nothing to make me want to flip over to the next page. The only reason I read the whole thing was because I started reading it in the first place.
I contemplated giving Deadly 2 stars, but in the end, I decided on 3. I must give credit to the author for thoroughly, as can be seen in the writing and the author's note, researching a topic I've never seen in young-adult fiction. But if I had a second chance, I doubt I would pick up Deadly again.
-Would I recommend this to anyone? Probably ages 11 and up
-Is there a second book? I doubt it
-Will I be looking forward to book two? It depends...
I like the cover, especially the bright contrasting colors. However, the cover doesn't really represent or hint at what's inside the book.
With a father gone off to war--and missing for years now--and a brother who died before that, Prudence has seen death and despair. Instead of leaving her longing for the security of a husband and family much as her friends want, Prudence instead finds herself instead interested in disease.
She wants to find out what's causing people to get sick and prevent it.
When a job helping in the sciences presents itself, Prudence knows she's found her calling. And with Deadly based on the woman who became known as "Typhoid Mary," there's a lot for Prudence to investigate.
Told in diary form, Deadly is a unique look into not only what it was like to be a girl in 1906, but to be a girl who was a little different from the norm. It's also a look into what science was like in 1906 and what people believed and did.
I'll admit to not knowing anything about 'Typhoid Mary' before starting Deadly so I can't say what it would be like for a reader who did already know about typhoid and Mary, but I really enjoyed the book. There wasn't a breakdown of the sickness so you don't truly get a feel for what typhoid did to people but that works for the story being told through Prudence and her diary.
The little superstitions that people believed at the time, what was expected of girls, where science/biology was at the time really interested me and, I thought, added a lot to the story.
I think this would be a fantastic read for either history classes because even without exact, large events to match it to, Deadly really gives you a feel for the time with a character readers can connect with and relate to. I also think it'd be great for science classes because I found myself a lot more interested in the experiments I'd done in biology and looking through a microscope after reading this book and the 1906 perspective.
I think this book has some of Prudence's drawings included in it, but my egalley didn't include them so I can't review that part of the book--I'm definitely going to look for a finished copy and see, however!
Now a high reading level YA, could even be MG/YA but still very enjoyable for YA and older readers.
(Read with a *huge* thanks to GalleyGrab)
Deadly is a great work of historical fiction, and Chibbaro does a wonderful job capturing the world as it was in the early 1900’s. I kept forgetting that I wasn’t actually reading a real diary from the time period! I also enjoyed the authors note at the end of the book. Chibbaro explains what parts of this book is true, and how characters like Mary and Mr. Soper were real. I would recommend this book to young people interested in history and/or science. It’s almost like this book was written especially for them!
Chibbaro explores many spheres of turn-of-the-century New York in this coming of age novel, from the changing roles of women to xenophobia. As Prudence describes the events in her journal, the reader begins to understand just what a great time of social change this was. Prudence is a likable teenager, level-headed and eager, trying desperately to move a rung or two up the social ladder by becoming a scientist. She perseveres, even when it seems hopeless, which will get the reader rooting for her.
At times, however, Prudence's, well, prudence and attention to detail make this a bit of a slog. The story picks up once Mary Mallon appears, but the complicated story line and sophisticated vocabulary really do make this a better choice for high school kids, or at least advanced middle school readers.
Grades 9 and up
I'm not sure I enjoyed the diary format - but I can't decide if that's because I just don't like that format to begin with or I just didn't think it worked well with this story. Prudence has a lot going on, so, it was great to see how her mind was working. However, I never really felt connected with her and I feel like it might have been better in a different style. Maybe? Not sure.
On the whole, though, I enjoyed Deadly, if only because the medical history was interesting (like old-school CSI!). It helped that Prudence was well-rounded - not every diary entry was about her work at the Department of Health - and Prudence's family story was an intriguing mystery, as well. I'm not sure this one would be a fit with everyone, but worth a look if you're interested at all in historical fiction.