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Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America

Review

Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America

TERRIBLE TYPHOID MARY: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America by well-known nonfiction author Susan Campbell Bartoletti tells the story of Mary Mallon, a quiet, hard-working Irish immigrant and who worked as a cook in New York at the turn of the 20th century. Mary caught typhoid disease, and spread it to the various families who she worked for.
 
I had preconceived, negative thoughts about Mary Mallon, but once I read TERRIBLE TYPHOID MARY, they disappeared; I appreciated that Bartoletti helps readers sympathize with her. At the same time, I liked that Bartoletti not only told Mary’s story, but also discussed the culture and ideas of the period; it was easy to understand why individuals believed certain biological. The author also integrated various sources into the book to clearly and factually illustrate what Mary's life was like.
 
I liked that Bartoletti not only told Mary’s story, but also discussed the culture and ideas of the period
 
Although it’s not the author’s fault, I sometimes found the lack of available information frustrating --- many conversations with Mary Mallon were not documented and there is little information about her family life.
 
At the beginning of TERRIBLE TYPHOID MARY, Bartoletti warns that people uncomfortable reading about diseases should not continue reading the book, and I agree. However, I would definitely recommend it to people who enjoy reading about medical conditions and history.

Reviewed by Hasnah Farraj on August 10, 2015

Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America
by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

  • Publication Date: August 4, 2015
  • Genres: Children's, History, Reference
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0544313674
  • ISBN-13: 9780544313675