Deadly by Julie Chibbaro
A Deadly Interest
Prudence Galewski is a working class girl growing up in New York City in 1906. She is determined and studious, and needs to be able to get a job and become a marriage-worthy young lady. The usual jobs chosen by other students like her at Mrs. Browning’s School for Girls are things like perfume sales clerk, or secretary at a ladylike company. But what makes Prudence such a good character is her desire to use her brain to solve problems and learn things.
Of course, because she is a woman (and a young one too), Mrs. Browning reacts badly when Prudence wants to get a job as assistant to Mr. Soper, an investigator for the New York Department of Health and Sanitation. He works to track diseases to their source to discover why people are getting sick. Prudence is drawn into the world of science and medicine, and she leaves school to work following the trail of people getting sick from typhoid.
Why I Love This Book
This is a favorite book of mine for many reasons. First, Prudence is a strong, intelligent female character. She challenges the role of women in medicine and science with the help of Dr. Baker, an empowering female doctor. I was engrossed in this book because of my interest in epidemiology (study of disease in a specific community), and Deadly is set in a time when it was still a relatively new field, especially for women.
There are other subplots in this book, like the death of her father and brother and how it affected her, and how alone she felt because her best friend moved away. It's very multilayered. I would recommend it to almost anybody, but especially anyone who would like a disease mystery about a complex character overcoming challenges in her home life to break into a new field.
Leah Francis is a Tumblr obsessed high school student that writes book reviews for the Pacifica Library. She’s also attempting to learn about photography.