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3.5/5 (14 évaluations)
244 pages
3 heures
Feb 22, 2011


Join the search for Typhoid Mary in this early twentieth-century CSI. Now in paperback!

Prudence Galewski doesn’t belong in Mrs. Browning’s esteemed School for Girls. She doesn’t want an “appropriate” job that makes use of refinement and charm. Instead, she is fascinated by how the human body works—and why it fails.

Prudence is lucky to land a position in a laboratory, where she is swept into an investigation of a mysterious fever. From ritzy mansions to shady bars and rundown tenements, Prudence explores every potential cause of the disease to no avail—until the volatile Mary Mallon emerges. Dubbed “Typhoid Mary” by the press, Mary is an Irish immigrant who has worked as a cook in every home the fever has ravaged. But she’s never been sick a day in her life. Is the accusation against her an act of discrimination? Or is she the first clue in solving one of the greatest medical mysteries of the twentieth century? 
Feb 22, 2011

À propos de l'auteur

Julie Chibbaro grew up in New York City wondering how so many people could live together without infecting each other with mortal diseases.  After attending Performing Arts High School for theater, she ran away to Mexico, where she survived an earthquake and a motorcycle crash and learned a little something about death.  Returning to New York, she decided to create her own fictional characters instead of playing one.  Julie Chibbaro is the author of Redemption, which won the 2005 American Book Award.  Julie teaches fiction and creative writing in New York.  You can also visit her at juliechibbaro.com.

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  • I wish we didn’t have to stake her out like a criminal. Or corner her like an animal. It doesn’t feel quite right to approach her this way.

  • But she didn’t see me as anything more than a girl, that was the problem, it had always been the problem.

  • The prospect of facing Mr. Soper suddenly frightened me.

Aperçu du livre

Deadly - Julie Chibbaro

September 7, 1906

I know that one day I won’t be on this earth anymore. A world without the physical me—what will that look like? I’ll seep down into the soil, become a plant, a tree; I’ll be falling leaves, yellow, crunching under a child’s feet until I am dust. Nothing. Gone.

Every September, the shivers come over me, thoughts of my brother’s terrifying death, and the questions—why did his short life end? Why do people have to die?

I write here, trying to explain, each word a stepping stone. These words illuminate my past; they bring me forward, to the future. They help me remember.

Without my writing, I would suffer an emptiness worse than I feel now.

Today there are great holes in me. I feel like a secret observer, separate from everything that goes on around me. Peering from my window just above the storefronts of this creaky building on Ludlow Street where I’ve lived since the morning of my birth, I watch Mrs. Zanberger at the vegetable cart below. She argues with Miss Lara over the price of onions the way she does every Sunday. Behind her, Kat Radlikov drags her heavy skirt through the mud, her belly swollen, her husband hiding in the shadows of their rooms. In front of the grocer’s, Ruth Schmidt smiles under her patched parasol at Izzy Moscowitz, who works too hard to notice her. I see the Feldman sisters from upstairs chasing each other through puddles like boys, with finally a morning free from the factory. Under the butcher’s canopy, their mother talks with other mothers from the neighborhood, their faces dark with worry.

I know them, these girls and women, I’ve seen their families grow, they’ve seen mine get smaller. When I’m in their company, I listen to them trade recipes and sewing tips, I smile at their gossip about each other, yet I can’t find a word to add. My eyes get stuck on the sadness in their mouths, or their red, chapped hands, and suddenly I’m imagining their lives—what they dream about when no one is looking, or what they might be like with fewer children. The women talk around and over me; somehow I feel like I’ll always be looking at them through a distant window.

Even at school, I feel this. When classes started this week, I had in my mind the birth I’d attended with Marm the night before—Sophie Gersh came due around midnight and her mother pounded at our door, her fear thrusting us from our beds. Marm and I rushed after the frightened woman, running full gallop the two blocks to her daughter’s apartment, where the girl’s husband stood outside wringing his hands, and she lay keening in the bedroom like a poor abandoned child. I took my place at the head of the bed, where I held Sophie’s hand and wiped the sweat from her teary eyes and assured her the birth would be good, that all would come out as we planned. Below, Marm did her magic; Sophie’s water broke, she was ready. Working together, the three of us encouraged her baby to come forth into this world. His birth happened easily, a miracle, one of those rare times when Marm and I can clean up the infant and hand him to his mother and happily return to our own beds. We napped an hour before rising to face the day, which was my first day of school.

My schoolmates kissed—we don’t see each other through the summer months; the girls had matured, their faces and bodies grown longer or fatter. I smiled at Josephine, who had become impossibly taller and thinner and prettier, and Fanny, whose round face had finally found its cheekbones. I brushed their cheeks with my lips. I searched their eyes for the start to a conversation; I wanted to tell them about the birth, or Benny, but Josephine started talking about her new job at the perfume counter at Macy’s. She described the glamorous ladies who bought the most expensive ounces, the delicate fabrics they wore, their jewels and dogs. She didn’t stop until Mrs. Browning came in with stout Miss Ruben, our teacher for the year. My heart dropped when I saw it was her. Miss Ruben’s eyes swept the room imperiously and settled on me.

She said, Girls, I see that some of you are still lacking in the most basic charms. We must correct that situation now. This is your last year before you are released into the world. There is no time left to waste!

I turned my eyes away from hers and concentrated on the smoke I could see puffing from the stack of the building next door. My stomach soured at the thought of spending my last year with her. Miss Ruben hasn’t liked me since third grade.

At afternoon lunch, I sat in the common room nibbling on my potato knish, listening to Jo and Fanny, feeling as if my insides were made of India rubber and all their words bounced around without touching me. I again attempted to tell them about the beautiful boy whose birth I had witnessed that very morning, but Josephine’s exuberant chatter drowned out my words before I could form them.

Oh, Fanny, she said, goodness, I forgot to tell you I thought you looked simply darling at the cocoon tea! Where did you buy that sweet dress?

Feinstein’s had a special sale, Fanny explained. I saw Dora there, and she convinced me to buy it. Did you hear her father caught her and Mr. Goldwaite holding hands in the back of his carriage? That man is too old for her!

He should pair with a dumpling like Miss Ruben, not a girl Dora’s age! Josephine said. Have you noticed the way our teacher looks this year? That lip coloring is simply awful on her, don’t you think? And doesn’t she know gray jackets with heavy braids are out of fashion?

The way she looks at us, Fanny said, you’d think she was the Queen of England!

The girls laughed, and I shook my head. I longed to be somewhere else, with someone else. I felt inside me that sore place of missing Anushka, and that silly flash of anger—why has she left me alone? Every morning we’d walk to school together, talking about everything under the sun. She’d ask me what I dreamt and thought about. No one does that now. I wish she hadn’t moved away last spring. In her letters from the farm, she writes about someone named Ida. I get a pang of fear when she writes of this girl. I hope Ida has not replaced me. Anushka said speaking to Ida was profound, like walking into a lake and suddenly discovering a drop-off into deeper water.

Oh, I simply ache to have a profound talk with another girl! I’d tell her about Papa and Benny, how our life used to be.

I’ve been sneaking into the temple to read notices on the B’nai community board, those that are not in Hebrew. For our last year of school, we are allowed to work afternoons, but I can’t imagine myself arranging flowers like Sara does at McLean’s Fancy Florist, or using my feminine charms like Josephine to draw in customers at Macy’s perfumery. Mrs. Browning says these sorts of jobs bring us closer to the class of people we strive to be someday, but I want serious employ. Not just for the money, though Marm and I do need it, but for the challenge to my mind. I want to be able to go somewhere and do something important and return home in the evening with soft bills in hand. Is it foolish to want a different type of job than Mrs. Browning trains us for, something more, something bigger than myself?

Truthfully, I hunger for a job that’s meaningful.

September 9, 1906

Can a girl get work fighting death? I feel strange writing that—but it’s the question that always comes to me, even in my dreams. I’ve seen so much death. I find it’s better not to talk about it, to push those pictures out of my mind. But in here, with the alchemy of pen to paper, something happens to me, and these terrible thoughts emerge full-blown. Here, I can confess that I see sickness like a violent weed growing everywhere, in the rubbish bins that puff out ash clouds, in the dirty puddles that ooze in the streets, in the breath of the gin ladies who hang about the sidewalk, in the dead cats, the hungry mice that gnaw at the walls, when I go walking in the park and see packs of stray dogs making garbage of the city.

I see death whenever I pass a brown horse.

What are these entities that weaken us and make us die? How is it that death is here on earth? How does it enter people’s bodies and sicken them, kill them?

If we knew how to fight death, could we have saved Benny’s life?

I can’t help thinking of my big brother at this time, the start of the new school term. He was nearly the same age I am now, a high school boy. We were walking home from temple when that brown horse came from nowhere and trampled right over him, that man charging down the street in such a hurry, he didn’t stop, he never stopped to see what he had done to Benny. I can still feel the wind of the horse, its closeness to my face as it sped by. We were talking together, none of us saw it. Marm cried out and Papa scooped Benny up and ran home with him.

I’ll never forget the terror on Marm’s face when she brought Dr. Barnes, and Benny’s cries when the doctor straightened his leg bones and bandaged the bloodied skin. In the next weeks, the unhealed sores turned green and spread over my brother’s battered legs. How useless were Dr. Barnes’s visits, with his Blood Cure and his Cooling Glass and his Silver Mend. He couldn’t make those sores go away.

Benny got so much worse, and Papa stayed with him, never left his side. He sat with him all day long, feeding him and washing up after him. He changed his bandages, releasing the sour, infected smell of poor Benny’s wounds. Every night in this front room, I slept beside my brother. I curled my head into his back and listened to his low moans until that final night, when the sounds ended.

I’ll always think there was some way we could’ve helped him, if only we knew how.

September 11, 1906

I spend my free nights assisting Marm, delivering life, watching young mothers struggle, and I feel somehow that I’m not really helping, that I don’t understand how to lessen the pain these new mothers endure. The Radlikov birthing last night was particularly hard on poor Kat, who pushed and moaned from that place of isolation where all birth-giving women seem to go. I spread warm cloths over her forehead and rubbed her from shoulder to waist and squeezed her hands as if I could squeeze out the child myself. Marm positioned her properly and told her happy stories of good births. For hours she cried and rested and cried until, at last, a boy came out. But the afterbirth didn’t follow; instead, the waves continued. Marm boiled water and cleaned her tools. I tried my best to soothe Kat by pressing warm towels into her lower back.

Marm felt the girl’s belly; she helped Kat push again. Out came a second little surprise! We all gasped when we saw that inside poor Kat were two tiny boys each no bigger than my shoe! It was my first twin birth—I never imagined what it might look like, a woman borning two separate creatures the way animals litter two, three, and four. We laughed and wept with Kat, we bathed the newborns for her and her husband, and we went home.

I spent the day in school exhausted.

I feel, when I am holding a birthing woman for hours on end, like I’m trying to physically absorb her pain with my own body, to take her burden from her through my hands and mind so it won’t hurt so much, so she won’t scream and cry, so she will just think of the baby who is coming. Afterwards, if all went well, I feel empty, tired deep down in my bones.

September 12, 1906

The army check came; it always comes just as we begin to reach into the kettle where we keep our rainy-day pennies. Even though we’ve been receiving the check every month for years now, it stirs up feelings for us, especially for Marm, ones she can’t talk about, and she sends me to cash it at the grocer’s as quickly as I can. I put the stub with the others inside the beautiful book Papa gave me just before he left for war. That book is the most precious thing I own. I hope one day I can understand even a few of all these mysterious subjects:

Year Book of Facts in Science and Arts, for 1897, Exhibiting the Most Important Improvements in Mechanics, Useful and Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, Astronomy, Zoology, Botany, Mineralogy, Meteorology, and Geology, Along with Obituaries of Eminent Scientific Men

The brown ink of the inscription has faded, his only writing to me that I have:

Darling Prudent One—

May this book make the world

more transparent to you.

Your papa, 1898

I study his elegant penmanship, and wonder how he learned it, since he was a machinist in Nolan’s Ball Bearing Factory, and before that a newsie on the street. I must ask him about his interest in scientific matters when he returns, for I don’t know how it began, and Marm won’t say, even though she gave me my first tablet and got me started on drawing and writing, copying from Papa’s book.

I remember watching the clock, seeing the moment it went from 1899 to 1900, the thrill of that instant, that shift in time. All the bells in town rang; our neighbors banged on the walls and filled the streets with noisemakers and hollered about the new century. Marm handed me that tablet, the one with the red silk cover. She said, Prudence, you need to start keeping a record. You must write events like these down. Time passes in a steady march, nothing ever gets in its way, and you must remember things.

I knew she meant that I must write for Papa. And I did that, for years.

I don’t know when I stopped writing for him, and started simply writing.

Remember. I must remember him. He has dark, curly hair, and his features are small and sharp in his perfectly oval face. He is taller than Marm by a few inches, but not as tall as Benny. He’s a serious man, but he laughs with his whole face. His hands smell of metal and gefilte fish, which he makes sometimes himself in the meat grinder. He calls me Oh Prudent One, and says he named me for the sensible look on my face when I was born.

I wonder, every day I wonder, where I could write him a letter. Missing in the Field—how can one address a letter to a person who is missing?

Better not to wonder such things at all.

Marm always tells me how my father’s father fought in the Civil War for his adopted Northern city; he cut off his long black beard and died somewhere in the South a hero, defending a hill. I don’t know if he ever told anyone he was a Jewish soldier; I imagine he couldn’t yet speak English. Marm has never had patience for the religious; when we sat shivah for Benny after he died, she didn’t accept Mrs. Zanberger’s gifts of food or Rabbi Samsfield’s spiritual help. Papa wanted to continue the prayers, I think, but she asked our neighbors to leave and ended the shivah two days early, which

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14 évaluations / 12 Avis
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Avis des lecteurs

  • (3/5)
    A fictionalized version of the search to track down Typhoid Mary in New York City in 1906, in a time where transmission of disease was not understood. The main character in this story is fictional, a young girl who wants to become a doctor and works for the Department of Health and Sanitation. Most of the other main characters are taken from history.
  • (5/5)
    The Little BookwormIn the early 1900s the idea of a healthy carrier of a disease was unknown. But then an outbreak of typhoid became and became link to a cook. And thus was the beginning of Typhoid Mary. Told through the eyes of a teenage girl working for the Department of Sanitation, Deadly is the story of both Typhoid Mary and Prudence, who has dream of overcoming disease and death.Before reading this, I had rudimentary knowledge of Typhoid Mary. It's sort of just an expression now, isn't it? But this was a real life woman. A healthy carrier of the typhoid bacteria, she unknowingly infected at least 53 people with the disease. When confronted with the idea that she was a healthy carrier, she refused to believe it.Deadly, told in diary form, is the story of Prudence, a second generation immigrant who has a thirst for scientific knowledge that frowned upon in young women. She obtains a job with the Department of Sanitation with George Soper who figures out from whom the typhoid is originating. Prudence is a very thoughtful, curious girl with a great mind for science and a need to learn about disease and death after the death of her brother. With her father missing in action, she lives alone with her mother in a tenement. I thought she was a great character and I liked reading her diary, or "tablet" entries and seeing life in New York at this time. It was very interesting. I found the whole story of Mary fascinating and I liked how the book felt real. All the emotions were very genuine even as most of the language was very precise and almost clinical like Prudence. Really this is a fascinating book and I'd recommend it to anyone. My only caveat is that it makes you want to wash your hands a whole whole lot.
  • (3/5)
    A historical YA, our main character, Prudence, gives us glimpses of her life through her journal entries, covering subjects as broad as losing a father to war and brother to untimely death, working in a profession that barely accepted women and tracking an elusive typhoid fever that appears to have no known cause.

    I'm not sure I enjoyed the diary format - but I can't decide if that's because I just don't like that format to begin with or I just didn't think it worked well with this story. Prudence has a lot going on, so, it was great to see how her mind was working. However, I never really felt connected with her and I feel like it might have been better in a different style. Maybe? Not sure.

    On the whole, though, I enjoyed Deadly, if only because the medical history was interesting (like old-school CSI!). It helped that Prudence was well-rounded - not every diary entry was about her work at the Department of Health - and Prudence's family story was an intriguing mystery, as well. I'm not sure this one would be a fit with everyone, but worth a look if you're interested at all in historical fiction.
  • (4/5)
    Everyone expects Prudence Galewski to be a proper young lady and learn to keep house, play music, and paint exquisitely. But Prudence has no interest in being a proper young lady. Inspired by the midwifery assistance she gives her mother, Prudence is instead interested in science, specifically the human body and how it works. So she is thrilled to land a job with a medical laboratory in her local New York neighborhood. Her supervisor, a epidemiologist, is tracking a mysterious fever that is affecting people in every social caste in New York, from slums to mansions. It seems like the outbreak is nearly random until one constant appears: Mary Mallon, an Irish immigrant who has been a cook in every home where the disease occurs. The mysterious part is, "Typhoid Mary," as the press dubs her, has never been sick.Chibbaro explores many spheres of turn-of-the-century New York in this coming of age novel, from the changing roles of women to xenophobia. As Prudence describes the events in her journal, the reader begins to understand just what a great time of social change this was. Prudence is a likable teenager, level-headed and eager, trying desperately to move a rung or two up the social ladder by becoming a scientist. She perseveres, even when it seems hopeless, which will get the reader rooting for her.At times, however, Prudence's, well, prudence and attention to detail make this a bit of a slog. The story picks up once Mary Mallon appears, but the complicated story line and sophisticated vocabulary really do make this a better choice for high school kids, or at least advanced middle school readers.Grades 9 and up
  • (3/5)
    This is the story of Typhoid Mary, one of the most infamous carriers of disease ever! Told through the diary of 16-year-old Prudence Galeski, who's been hired as an office/laboratory assistant at the New York City Department of Health and Sanitation, the story follows the investigation into a possible typhoid epidemic in 1906. At the time, the idea that someone who appeared to be completely healthy carried a germ or disease and could spread it to others was new -- and considered unbelievable by many. Mary Mallon was a fine Irish cook for a number of wealthy families who thought she was wonderful... but no one talked about how every family she worked for became infected with typhoid fever until the investigation. Typhoid is a bacterial disease, often fatal at the time, and Mary had unknowingly passed the bacteria into the food she prepared for the families. The scientific evidence at the time was not as well understood as it is today, but the team used every means they had available to prove their case and get Mary quarantined, including having her chased, tackled, and handcuffed by the police! Historical fiction for the science-minded. 7th grade and up.
  • (1/5)
    Interesting premise, but nothing really /happened/.
  • (3/5)
    What an interesting book! The narration is told in diary entries written by Prudence Galewski, a young Jewish girl living in NYC. Prudence has always been fascinated by how the body works and what causes people to get sick, while others are able to stay healthy. She takes a job at the Department of Health and Sanitation and learns about germs and bacteria and how it spreads from person to person. To us, this might not seem so interesting, but in 1906, this was still a new concept that many people were not able to understand. At her job, Prudence and her employer, Mr. Soper traces the origins of the fever to a woman named Mary Mallon, which the press nicknames, “Typhoid Mary”. She carries the disease, and infects the people that she cooks for, but she herself has never been sick. Up until Mr. Soper and Prudence find her, no one, including Mary, is even aware that she carries the disease. It is up to the Department to find out how this is possible. Deadly is a great work of historical fiction, and Chibbaro does a wonderful job capturing the world as it was in the early 1900’s. I kept forgetting that I wasn’t actually reading a real diary from the time period! I also enjoyed the authors note at the end of the book. Chibbaro explains what parts of this book is true, and how characters like Mary and Mr. Soper were real. I would recommend this book to young people interested in history and/or science. It’s almost like this book was written especially for them!
  • (3/5)
    A fictionalized version of the search to track down Typhoid Mary in New York City in 1906, in a time where transmission of disease was not understood. The main character in this story is fictional, a young girl who wants to become a doctor and works for the Department of Health and Sanitation. Most of the other main characters are taken from history.
  • (5/5)
    A fascinating historical fiction novel about the search for the source of a typhoid outbreak, and later the woman (Typhoid Mary) who was determined to be the cause. Told from the point of view of a young woman, destined to be a scientist, the story is fast paced and completely engrossing. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel, even though I'm not usually fond of historical fiction. One of the best things about this book is how Chibbaro brings to life a young woman who wants to be something young woman of her time barely dreamed of being -- a scientist. While this book is, in fact, about typhoid and science and a strong historical novel, at it's heart, it is a novel of young feminist, ahead of her time.
  • (5/5)
    The case of Typhoid Mary was something I grew up believing was just a myth, until I started this book. About half way through the book I found I had to stop and do some research of my own. Chibarro's facts are very authentic. My research into this person did not diminish my love of this book at all. She addressed several issues of the time. She mentioned the suffragettes and the role women played during that time. The fact that the main character Prudence Galewski is not like the other girls sets this up perfectly. Where other young ladies are looking at getting typing jobs, finding the right man and presenting him with lots of children, Prudence wants to find out what causes diseases and how to prevent them. There was a lot to learn about the beginning of the medical studies into bacteria. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a book I couldn't stop reading once I started. I will definitely recommend it to everyone I know.
  • (3/5)
    I've read quite a few YA historical fiction novels. Never have I come across a novel set in the early 1900's, during the time of Typhoid Mary, until I picked up Deadly by Julie Chibarro. Prudence has always been fascinated by the sciences. She longs to find a way to save lives from disease and sickness. She sees death everywhere, especially after her brother died. Soon, she aquires a job in the Department of Health, where they've started investigating a mysterious case of typhoid outbreaks. Deadly is written in the form of sixteen year old Prudence Galewski's diary entries. She started writing ever since her father left them. Ever since he joined the war and never came back. Is he dead? They have no way of finding out, but they've been waiting for nine years. I expected more out of Deadly. Judging by the title and the cover, I expected more action, more significant things to happen. I was pretty disappointed by the fact that there was nothing to make me want to flip over to the next page. The only reason I read the whole thing was because I started reading it in the first place. I contemplated giving Deadly 2 stars, but in the end, I decided on 3. I must give credit to the author for thoroughly, as can be seen in the writing and the author's note, researching a topic I've never seen in young-adult fiction. But if I had a second chance, I doubt I would pick up Deadly again.-Would I recommend this to anyone? Probably ages 11 and up-Is there a second book? I doubt it-Will I be looking forward to book two? It depends...I like the cover, especially the bright contrasting colors. However, the cover doesn't really represent or hint at what's inside the book.
  • (4/5)
    deadly was almost a no-go for me, but it starts to get interesting after the first couple of chapters - it's when Prudence gets a job at the Department of Health and Sanitation that the story really picks up some steam. Before then, we had to endure the trials of finishing school where girls either learn to be housewives or governesses or some other seemingly unexciting things. Prudence never fits in that mold, and she has the luck of landing a secretary joy with the perks of also being assistant to the head epidemiologist.Call me nerd or dork or obsessed health nut, but I really appreciated deadly's focus on typhoid, particularly the story about Typhoid Mary, when we were first understanding how infection actually worked. Those were exciting times - and I tend to forget that as textbooks give you the dry facts without the emotions that surely coursed through the scientists.deadly is an excellent historical read with a narrator who will surely infect you with the same fascination that she experiences while on the edge of discovering the source of the typhoid epidemic. It was startling to see the various reactions when fingers get pointed at Mary - the servants and Irish immigrants who want to protect their own, the infected families who only see a healthy cook who is able to nurse them back to health, the Department who want to locate and isolate the source of infection, and Prudence's inner turmoil of how the accusations will affect an actual human's life.I'm not sure what to make of the ending. Although I am really pleased with how Prudence turned out, the ending seemed a little too wishy-washy and I wish it provided a little more resolution to what happens to Typhoid Mary, Prudence, and the rest of the characters involved .