4 stars out of 5
The book follows the struggle of Mathilda “Mattie” Cook during the yellow fever outbreak in Philadelphia in the year 1793.
Mattie lives with her widowed mother and veteran grandfather. They do own a coffee shop that Mattie is dreaming of improving by the time comes that she’ll already be the one taking over the business. The suddenly, people start to die in their city. People just shrugged their shoulders at first telling themselves that it is just a normal fever that they experience yearly. But when the toll began to rise, people began to get frantic and most left the city and advised to return when the outbreak is already over.
When Mattie’s mother got the fever, that’s the time that her world began to crumble. Her dream of improving their coffeehouse is slowly drifting away from her. Her mother sent her and her grandfather o the countryside to avoid getting the virus. They, however, failed to reach their destination. From then on, the readers will follow the story of how Mattie was able to survive the outbreak that killed thousands of people in Philadelphia. Readers will follow her journey for survival.
The book is based on a true story.
“The yellow fever outbreak that struck Philadelphia in 1793 was one of the worst epidemics in United States history. In three months, it killed nearly five thousand people, ten percent of the city population.” – Copied from the appendix of the book.
Despite being a short read, the book is packed with emotions. The book is a fast read, engaging and straightforward, and I was able to easily get through it. It’s also very unpredictable. Each chapter ends with a cliffhanger that’ll make readers want to read the next chapter.
I like the suspense this book brought me. It was spot on. What added more to the tension is how the author portrayed the medical scene in those years and how it gave an impact to the city. Considering that medicine were not yet developed those times the author provided the different ways and means that the doctors before tried to resolve the epidemic.
The author was very effective in making the readers feel the love and bond between the characters in the story. How despite their world turning upside down, they hold to each other. The author was able to use words that really pinch the heart. The author presented an easy to read historical fiction with simple but powerful language.
The book was well-researched and accurate. One can feel the impact the fever brought. I like how the fact melts with the fiction in the book. It provided a vivid and graphic detail as the smell and sights throughout the city.
The book tackled the theme of tragedies and how each of us deals with it and how our choices affect the outcome of our decisions. The author, for me, is very effective in delivering the message of hope to its readers.
The ending is just perfect for me. I like how Mattie returned to the coffee house, despite all that happened and she stepped up and took the courage to live her life how she wanted it to be.
This is the first Laurie Halse Anderson book that I read and I know that this won’t be the last. I am excited to read Speak which is her most famous work.
4 stars out of 5