Plague and I

Plague and I

by Betty MacDonald
Publisher: J.B. Lippincott Co.
©1948, Item: 92904
Hardcover, 254 pages
Current Retail Price: $15.99
Not in stock

Only Betty MacDonald could have drawn this gay, moving, genuinely sympathetic picture of the patients, nurses, and well-meaning "outsiders" that came her way when she was going through the crisis of tuberculosis in a sanatorium called The Pines. Through her eyes, you see the essential drama of the fight for life and health. You see how nurses and patients variously react to the crises that arise every day, and you meet many of them: nurses, popular and unpopular, patients, variously catalogued as Sighers, Non-Sleepers Saddos, and Pretend-to-be-Cheerfuls; members of the immediate family who sit on the bed and argue; and numerous characters who move in and out of the narrative with cheerful abandon.

MacDonaldisms are at their sharpest as the author describes encounters with occupational therapy, operations, and what it is like to resume life again as a well person. You meet people people like Miss Gillespie who "was physically and mentally exactly what you'd expect the producer of hand-painted paper plates to be and who had a mouth so crowded with false teeth it looked as if she had put in two sets." You are told: "We patients at The Pines differed in color, nationality, political beliefs, I.Q., age, religion, background and ambition. The only things that most of us had in common were being alive and speaking English, but as patients we were firmly cemented by our ungratefulness, stupidity, uncooperativeness, unworthiness, poverty, tuberculosis, and longing for a discharge."

Getting tuberculosis in the middle of your life is like starting downtown to do a lot of urgent errands and being hit by a bus, concludes Betty MacDonald. But in The Plague and I she proves that it takes more than tuberculosis or a bus to prevent completion of those errands, and the story carries right up to the perfect drama of that big day when the author, well and healthy again, lands a job. Entertainment for everybody with plenty of substance.

Partially serialized before publication in Good Housekeeping.

from the dust jacket

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