February 22, 2011
Amazon for buying/other info
Sixteen-year-old Prudence Galewski lives in a time where girls are expected to go to school (if they do at all) only to learn how to be better wives and mothers or perhaps obtain a secretarial job. 1906 is also a time when typhoid and other disease outbreaks are quite common around New York (where Prudence lives).
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 thanks to Simon & Schuster's Galley Grab)