Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fever 1793

I started and finished Fever 1793 this weekend. We had dinner with friends last weekend and they loaned us a bag of books. I had to finish the one I was reading at the time (Tamim Ansary's memoir), but after that, I was ready to dive right in. The first book I chose to dive into is this one, Fever 1793. It is a historical fiction, based in Philadelphia in 1793. Without giving too much away, it is the story of living through a yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia in 1793 as told through the eyes of a teenage girl, Matilda Cook. Mattie, as she is called, begins the book as a generic girl just entering her teens, tired of chores, arguing with her mom, and with a crush on a boy down the street. She lives with her mother and grandfather (who is a Revolutionary War veteran, but so full of life, I wish I could meet him!). Then the fever begins. It is a quick read that takes us through the three terrible months of yellow fever, hysteria, starvation, the loss of neighborly kindness, and back. There is one moment that shocked me to reality, showcasing how fragile life can be, but I don't want to spoil it for you. I especially liked the appendix that gives a little more history, and clarifies how much the story is intertwined with real history. Amazon recommends this book for ages 12 and older, but I would encourage anyone looking for an accessible historical fiction (my favorite way to learn history) to pick it up.

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