Before reading Susan Campbell Bartoletti‘s middle grade book about her, I did not know much about Typhoid Mary. In fact, I thought she was a fictional character. I was wrong. She was a real person, who cooked for many families in New York City and surrounding areas until the New York City Board of Health tracked her down and held her in near isolation on North Brother Island. A strong and healthy woman, Mary Mallon refused to believe she was spreading typhoid fever via the food she made.
Terrible Typhoid Mary presents all sides of the story, from George Soper who claimed to be the first who discovered Mary and her unique “healthy carrier” status, to Dr. Josephine Baker, who confronted Mary in order to collect samples that would detect if and where the typhoid germs originated in Mary. Many pictures and a timeline round out this well-written account of Mary Mallon.