Monday, August 23, 2010

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson (41/2)


During the summer of 1793, Mattie Cook lives above the family coffee shop with her widowed mother and grandfather. Mattie spends her days avoiding chores and making plans to turn the family business into the finest Philadelphia has ever seen. But then the fever breaks out.

Disease sweeps the streets, destroying everything in its path and turning Mattie's world upside down. At her feverish mother's insistence, Mattie flees the city with her grandfather. But she soon discovers that the sickness is everywhere, and Mattie must learn quickly how to survive in a city turned frantic with disease.


I purchased this book because: It has been on my radar for some time now and finally getting around to reading it :) ...


Opening Lines: I woke to the sound of a mosquito whining in my left ear and my mother screeching in my right. 'Rouse yourself this instant!' Mother snapped open the shutters and heat poured into our bedchamber. The room above our coffeehouse was not large.


Well this is my first read of Laurie Halse Anderson and it will certainly not be my last .... I loved this little book and was quite impressed by how much research the author had done to make this book come alive ....


The book is set in Philadelphia in 1793 when a disease known as 'Yellow Fever' strikes the city and brings it to it's knees. And how through one girls eyes she tries to survive when everyone around her is getting infected ...



I loved the main character of Mattie ... She is a very strong willed girl who is determined not to let this disease change her or her dreams of the future ... But even though she is a strong character she still has a very vulnerable side ... The author Laurie gives us just enough information to let us know the extent of this disease without going overboard .... But you still get the sense of how devastating this disease actually was for the people who stayed in Philadelphia .... I think what makes this book work is that Laurie did alot of research into the breakout of 'Yellow Fever' in 1793 and you really do get caught up in the story and just how far medical science has come on .. Thankfully for us ....


Some of my favourite quotes: ' A Low voice and soft address are the common indications of a well-bred woman.' pg 24


'Mother looked at the old man. He just wanted a quiet afternoon, that much was clear. I saw him wink at her. I didn't know which one made me angrier, but somehow they had both won.' Pg 42


'Those filthy refugees and creatures who live in the crowded hovels by the river, they're always sick with something. But it is a gross injustice that my gala should suffer because the lower class fall ill.' Pg 51


'You're turning into a regular scold, Mattie Cook. You sound like your mother, ordering menfolk around.' Pg 79


'The grave diggers had dug trenches as deeply as they could, then planted layer after layer of fever victims. Some of the dead were decently sewn into their winding sheets, but most were buried in the clothes they died in. ' A field plowed by the devil,' I murrured. 'They're not even using coffins' Pg 120


'I could read, write, and figure numbers faster than most. I was not afraid of hard work. I would set my own course.' Pg 216


This book goes to show that disease and illness doesn't care about social graces or class and as always the rich do have better means to run away from the disease where as the poorer classes are left to cope and mourn for their losses ...


This is a short wee book with big writing so you could get through it quite quickly ... I will definitely be tempted to read more of her works ... This book is suitable of anybody over the age of 12 ...


I rate this book 4 1/2 ****






1 comment:

Nance said...

I've read and enjoyed all of Laurie Halse Anderson's other books, but not this one. I'm going to have to check it out now after your great review.

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