Friday, March 4, 2011
Book Review: Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
Not available on Kindle
Link for the book @ Publisher---plus a video interview with the author.
Website for the author:
Published September 2000 by Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing/Aladdin Paperbacks
256 pages/For grades 5-9
Fiction/Historical Fiction/Colonial America
This book won A Lifetime Achievement in Literature For Young Adults American Library Association Margaret A. Edwards Award
This is my 4th book in the past year by Laurie Halse Anderson. The previous books read with reviews are:
Catalyst, Speak, and Wintergirls.
I loved this book and felt that it's an excellent book on the history of the late 1700's in Colonial America. It is of course a historical fiction book and based on the Yellow Fever outbreak that occurred during this time period.
Mattie (Matilda) Cook and her mother and grandfather own a coffeehouse in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The year is 1793 and it is late summer. The heat and humidity is stifling and unbearable. Insects including mosquitoes are swarming. Mattie's days are spent helping her mother and Eliza the coffeehouse cook. Mattie at age 14 at times feels like a child and yet an emerging young woman at the same time. Her mother pushes responsibilities at her and yet does not trust her with others. There is talk of people down by the river sick. The sickness seems to overtake a person quickly, causing high fever. Soon though this sickness takes over the city of Philadelphia and changes lives forever.
The character Mattie transforms during the story and I loved this. She is a character that "rises to the crisis that is before her". Her small family is all she has, they have been her security and comfort. The crisis of this disease changes her situation and she must make adult decisions. I felt that the author did a splendid job of showing Mattie in a realness; she is both a heroine and yet we see her humanity albeit a young girl.
I felt the fear in the situation that the characters were living through. A disease that no cure can fix. A disease that is often deadly.
I have recently become interested in Colonial America and this book added to my own education of this time period.