Monday, February 8, 2016

Fever by Mary Beth Keane
On the eve of the twentieth century, Mary Mallon emigrated from Ireland at age fifteen to make her way in New York City. Brave, headstrong, and dreaming of being a cook, she fought to climb up from the lowest rung of the domestic-service ladder. Canny and enterprising, she worked her way to the kitchen, and discovered in herself the true talent of a chef. Sought after by New York aristocracy, and with an independence rare for a woman of the time, she seemed to have achieved the life she’d aimed for when she arrived in Castle Garden. Then one determined “medical engineer” noticed that she left a trail of disease wherever she cooked, and identified her as an “asymptomatic carrier” of Typhoid Fever. With this seemingly preposterous theory, he made Mallon a hunted woman.

The Department of Health sent Mallon to North Brother Island, where she was kept in isolation from 1907 to 1910, then released under the condition that she never work as a cook again. Yet for Mary—proud of her former status and passionate about cooking—the alternatives were abhorrent. She defied the edict.
 This was a mixed bag for me. I really found myself deeply invested in Mary and what she went through, but once it got to the parts about her romantic relationship with Alfred, I felt rather meh. To me the most interesting bits were when we saw her trying to come to terms with her condition. She was one of the first people known as a "healthy carrier" of a disease like Typhoid. Not much was known about such people back then and so medical professionals didn't quite know how to handle her case.

That was what I wanted to read about! I do understand why her relationship with Alfred was included, I just didn't think that bit was all that interesting. Yes it gave her the motivation to do some of the things she did, but yeah..not what got me reading faster. Whenever the scene switched to Alfred and Mary I found myself tempted to skip pages and felt my eyes gloss over a little. Never a good sign! However, when she was looking back on all the families she cooked for, when she was isolated on the island, and during her trials I was mesmorized!

I did give this book a 4 stars, because there were many many times when I couldn't put it down, but it would have had 5 stars if the Alfred bits were shorter.

Overall, Fever is an interesting look at a very famous medical case that opened the eyes of the medical world. Mary Mallon is a curious case and this book did, for the most part, her story justice!

Monday, February 1, 2016

This Week on the "I'm so friggen busy at work I can barely stay awake when I get home..." Show

all day err day

So many things have happened at work in the last week or two, that have made my job a bajillionity times more stressful! I completed my key-holder training, so now I can open and close the place solo. There were 3 of us working in our center, but the 3rd person decided that they'd rather steal from customers than wait for payday and got fired (rightfully so!) so now there are two. This dumbasses actions caused our center to have tons of company big-wigs come by and check us out. Loss prevention and whatnot, totally understandable but still super duper stressful. Our company is super strict on overtime, so I've been working solo quite often lately. 

Anyhoo, when I get home I'm so exhausted I have little motivation to do anything at all. :( Which sucks on reading time and other nerdy things I like doing to unwind. I'm behind on reading and my tv shows! Waaaah!!

So I'm gonna be a bit realistic with my reading things this week. I'm going to be finishing up Fever by Mary Beth Keane.

That's it. Any other reading will be frosting on my stressed out cake.