Thursday, November 17, 2011
Book Review: Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
This is an excellent piece of historical fiction about the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia. The narrator is an early teenage girl named Matilda whose family operates a coffeehouse. When the fever hits, many persons begin fleeing the town. Readers will empathize with Matilda as she encounters the attitudes toward fever victims and the treatments, may of which were ineffective, that were used. The author does a good job of bringing the historical elements to life. She explained that Philadelphia was the largest city in the United States at the time and brought the death toll to life for readers when she explained how many were expected to die early in the book. I suspect that the book will be enjoyed by some younger readers and not by others, but this book would be a great springboard for discussion in classes of the epidemic, medical treatments, etc.