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Fever 1793 Paperback – March 1, 2002
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"Devoted" by Dean Koontz
For the first time in paperback, from Dean Koontz, the master of suspense, comes an epic thriller about a terrifying killer and the singular compassion it will take to defeat him. | Learn more
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Frequently bought together
The New York Times Book Review A gripping story about living morally under the shadow of rampant death.
VOYA A vivid work, rich with well-drawn characters.
The New York Times Book Review The plot rages like the epidemic itself.
About the Author
- Lexile Measure : 580L
- Grade Level : 5 - 9
- Item Weight : 7.2 ounces
- Paperback : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780689848919
- ISBN-13 : 978-0689848919
- Product Dimensions : 5.13 x 0.8 x 7.63 inches
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Reprint Edition (March 1, 2002)
- Reading level : 10 - 14 years
- Language: : English
- ASIN : 0689848919
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,929 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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What a great period fiction book. After reading Fever 1793, I found myself researching the epidemic to find out what really happened. Ms. Anderson clearly did her research as the piece was accurate with what I was reading in the research.
My son also enjoyed the book and we spent some time discussing the book, which as any parent with a 12 year old boy knows, isn't an easy task.
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction.
Since I live in Philadelphia I was able to make some real world connections which helped to make the book more interesting. I am worried that my son will find it a bit dry and boring; he's not a big reader to begin with and some of the word usage may send him Googling.
Overall, I did enjoy the story; it's not the page turner that some describe (in my opinion). I wish there were a little more character development and/or more detailed descriptions in the content to help in comprehension (more visualization, maps, etc.). I feel strongly that background knowledge should be presented at the beginning of the book rather than the end; in a classroom environment this can be done, but this book was assigned as summer reading. I think that young readers would benefit by having those prior knowledge connections in place as they read.
Philadelphia, 16 August 1793. Matilda Cook lives with her mother and grandfather above their coffeehouse. Today, before the day is in full swing with their chores, they learn that they lost Polly, their serving girl, to fever. It happened very quickly, in a matter of hours.
“A week later, sixty-four people had died.” The grandfather is skeptical about all those deaths being blamed on fever. He insists, “Even a few hundred isn’t enough to call it an epidemic.”
“There are forty-thousand people living in Philadelphia.” Half of them left the city. Over three thousand are dead. “Those who don’t die of the fever are beginning to starve.”
Matilda, a dreamy girl, now needs to learn how to survive the plague.
Loved the character of Matilda. She is so opposite of her mother, who is a very hard worker and that’s what distinguished her from the early childhood. Matilda pours her thoughts how she feels about it.
The rage of fever is very real. “Bodies are piling up like firewood.” The doors are shut in your face as each family tries to stay alive behind their own walls. “The streets were ghosted, colorless and hushed.” Except lonely children without their mothers and thieves breaking into empty houses.
Loved the atmosphere of the coffeehouse, filled with “gentlemen, merchants, and politicians enjoying a cup of coffee, a bite to eat, and the news of the day.” Matilda’s grandfather, former army officer, is “the heart of all gossip and tall tales in the coffeehouse.” He is quite a character, which I enjoyed very much.
The storyline and the writing are very impressive. The plot is engrossing, moving the story forward as fast as the rage of epidemic.”
Historical fact, “In a few short weeks the city was transformed into a living nightmare, with the sick dying, the healthy paralyzed with fear, and the doctors helpless. (…) The brave people who stayed in the city and helped the sick were extraordinary.”
Top reviews from other countries
Laurie Halse Andersons "Fever 1793" erscheint, glaube ich, auf jeder Liste, die historische YA-Romane aufführt - nicht ohne Grund. Die Autorin hat die historischen Umstände und Fakten akribisch recherchiert und läuft nicht Gefahr, in Anachronismen zu verfallen - auch nicht, was ihre Protagonistin betrifft. Mattie ist eine selbstbewusste und moderne junge Frau, aber eben selbstbewusst und modern im Rahmen ihrer Zeit, sie benimmt sich nicht wie ein verkleideter Teenager aus dem 21. Jahrhundert. Insofern hat mir dieses Buch gut gefallen.
Man sollte sich aber darüber im Klaren sein - und das war ich aufgrund des Alters der Hauptperson nicht, als ich zu lesen begann - dass der Roman wohl für Leser unter 14 gedacht ist. Die Autorin möchte ihren jungen Lesern - und ihren Hauptpersonen, so scheint es - eindeutig nicht zuviel zumuten. Auch das hatte ich, nachdem ich "Wintergirls" gelesen hatte (eine ziemlich brutale Schilderung einer Magersucht-Erkrankung fast bis zum Tod der Protagonistin) nicht erwartet. Im Gegensatz dazu ist die Darstelllung des entsetzlichen Verlaufs der Gelbfieber-Epidemie, die ein Fünftel der Bevölkerung von Philadelphia das Leben kostete, recht verhalten. Zwar gibt es ein paar drastischere Beschreibungen des Krankheitsverlaufs - das aber wird dadurch wieder beschönigt, dass am Ende nur ein einziges Opfer unter den Personen, die der Leser genauer kennenlernt, zu beklagen ist, und dabei handelt es sich um eine Person, die ihr Leben gelebt hat. Eine etwas unmotiviert wirkende zarte Liebesgeschichte, die rührende Geschichte um ein kleines Waisenmädchen, und vor allem häufige Ausschmückungen mit zwei putzigen Haustieren, sorgen ebenfalls dafür, dass Andersons Buch eine etwas seltsame Mischung aus Katastrophen-Roman und Unterhaltung ist. Es ist trotzdem natürlich nicht schlecht, und manch Leser wird gerade daran Gefallen finden, dass am Ende alles gut wird, zumindest für Mattie und ihre Familie.
Vier Sterne gibt es nicht zuletzt für die Charakterzeichnung von Matties Großvater, einem Veteranen der Unabhängigkeitskriege mit "bärbeißigem Charme" - und vor allem von Eliza, mit deren Figur die Autorin der Leistung der Mitglieder der "Free African Society" ein Denkmal setzt, die selbstlos und mutig und teilweise über die eigegen Grenzen hinaus die Pflege erkrankter Mitbürger auf sich nahmen.
Mattie Cook is said to shirk her chores in the description, but I just saw a kid. She still did everything she needed to and was surrounded by people she loved. She may have taken advantage of that, but that's normal.
When the outbreak hits the city of Philadelphia, Mattie is faced with the hard facts that she might lose those around her and it forces her to grow up fast. It's said that the yellow fever outbreak took 10% of that city, which is a devastating statistic.
I enjoyed watching Mattie grow and learn to make decisions for herself. I did find the wanderings with her grandfather to be a bit tedious. It was one minute of being fine, and then things began to happen very fast, and would recover fast -- almost like the scenes weren't needed. They didn't add to Mattie or her grandfather's journey, except to delay it some. Once they found their way back to the coffee house I found things to get interesting. Suddenly, Mattie had a lot to face, and dangers that weren't just a disease. People get ugly in times of strife, and the author revealed some of the things I'd fear if trapped in a time like that.
There were plenty of twists and turns, and I think young adult readers would take a lot from the novel. The research was well done, and pulled the reader into the headspace of a fourteen year old in an extreme, and real situation.