Laurie Halse AndersonFever 1793.New York:Simon & Schuster,2000
Genre: Historical Fiction
Audience: 5th grade – High School
Read Aloud: Here
Summary: Matilda Cook who goes by Mattie is fourteen years old. Her family and her live in Philadelphia above a coffee house. People start to get sick; many pronounced dead. Yellow fever starts to spread through the town. The book goes through Mattie’s journey of trying to stay alive, cope with the deaths of many of her loved ones, and start a life.
Themes: Maturity. At one point Mattie’s mother gets sick and the mother wants her to leave town so she doesn’t die neither. I think it was amazing how mature Mattie was in this situation. She left with her grandfather on this journey. And, even on the road she had to deal with deaths. Laurie Halse Anderson did an excellent job with portraying the hurt but how Mattie had to deal also deal quickly with each and every death in a mature manner.
Equality. At the end of the book Mattie comes back to the coffeehouse and runs into Eliza. Eliza is a free African American. She ends up actually offering to become partners with Eliza in the coffee house. As I said, Mattie is a very mature character, and it is amazing even in 1793 to see whites open up to colored people who were close with their family in the past.
Family. Even though Mattie does not have much family by the end of the book, she extends that meaning of ‘family’. She helps others near the coffee shop when she arrives home. She extends her generosity to Eliza. And, she helps care for sick people. So. she has quite a large family community that she has built along the way in this book.
Reactions: I liked the book a lot. It was kind of cool to have the book set so far back in history and gain a little knowledge of the things that happened back then. I didn’t know too much about the plague so Laurie Halse Anderson does an awesome job at presenting the history in an interesting manner.
Connections: I really liked how Mattie rekindled her relationship with Eliza. Eliza was a free slave when she lived with the family. She cooked. And, the family treated her like one of her own. When Mattie came back to town I didn’t know what to expect. And, I really liked Eliza so I’m glad they got back together. It was funny- this may be a stupid connection- but, I just kept thinking about me and my best friend. Her name is Eliza too; and just some of the stuff mentioned just reminded me of my friend Eliza
Reception: OneThis review summarizes the book when you first get onto the website. Then it goes on to have separate reviews from other teens. One states how Laurie Halse Anderson does an outstanding job on showing what happens to the people who are dying. Some people take care of the yellow fever victims; well others just toss their bodies out onto the road
Two This review actually lists the book as a kid’s book. It had some good points to it. The author questions the reader saying: would you have courage to do what Mattie did? She would bring food to those that other human beings would just toss onto the street. She did a lot of heroic things.