Hello and welcome to the first discussion post on the book Fever by Mary Beth Keane. Today I will be posing questions that concern the setting of the book, the writing style of Mary Beth Keane, and critique of the novel’s strengths and weaknesses. Next week Bonny will tackle the social issues the book addresses and then on February 18th Kym will go deep on the historical fiction basis of the novel.
Before we dive in, though, I have an extra special announcement to make about this month’s discussion posts. We have put together a “book lovers surprise package” to be given to one lucky Fever reader! How do you qualify? Just leave a comment on any of our book discussion blog posts over the next 3 weeks. Your name will be placed in a hat EACH time you make a comment — so the more you share, the more chances you have to win the prize. The winner will be revealed as part of our wrap-up post on February 25. Cool, right?
Okay, let’s discuss Fever!
- The story is set in New York City in the early years of the 20th century. How does the city play a role in the novel? How does Keane do with describing the setting and making the reader feel like they are actually there . . . in the tenements, at the bakery, in the wealthy homes of the families Mary worked for? Does the setting contribute to the story in a meaningful way?
- How does the story reflect the attitudes and beliefs of the time in which it was written or set?
- What do you think of Keane’s writing style? Did it keep you engaged? Were you able to connect with the characters?
- Discuss how Keane handled incorporating factual information into this fictional account of Mary Mallon’s life. Do you enjoy historical fiction? And how would you compare this book to other historical fiction titles you have read and enjoyed?
Please discuss your thoughts regarding these questions in the comments. I will do my best to reply directly so that we can attempt a sort of discussion despite the limitations of this format. See you in the comments and remember – the more you comment, not just this week but also at Bonny’s and Kym’s in the subsequent weeks, the more chances you have to win our special prize!