" The Plague and I" recounts MacDonald's experiences in a Seattle sanitarium, where the author spent almost a year (1938-39) battling tuberculosis. The White Plague was no laughing matter, but MacDonald nonetheless makes a sprightly tale of her brush with something deadly.
"Anybody Can Do Anything" is a high-spirited, hilarious celebration of how "the warmth and loyalty and laughter of a big family" brightened their weathering of the Great Depression.
In "Onions in the Stew", MacDonald is in unbuttonedly frolicsome form as she describes how, with husband and daughters, she set to work making a life on a rough-and-tumble island in Puget Sound, a ferry ride from Seattle.
©1948 Betty MacDonald (P)2016 Post Hypnotic Press Inc.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
I first read MacDonald’s book “The Egg and I” back in 1947. I re-read it again last year. This book “The Plague and I” was originally published in 1948. It tells the story of MacDonald’s diagnosis and year stay in a Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Seattle in 1938-39. This is my first time reading “The Plague and I”; somehow I missed reading it years ago.
I did my working rotation in a TB Sanatorium in 1961; by 1963 all the TB hospitals were closed as antibiotics were so successful in treating the disease. It just took a few years to work out the most effective combination of antibiotics. It was like a miracle.
It was devastating to get TB and have to take a year out of your life to be in a TB hospital. TB was a contagious disease and the patient had to be kept away from society until they could no longer transmit the disease. The reader should also remember that TB was and is still a big killer. It is amazing that MacDonald dealt with the situation is such a positive manner and with such humor. The facility MacDonald was in mixed all the races and ethnic group together which was unusual for the time, which Macdonald turned into funny stories. MacDonald provides good descriptions about the various treatments and surgery used at that time. The book does provide a glimpse into medical history. The end of the book MacDonald reveals the difficulties a person had in adjusting to society again after being confined to a Sanatorium for one or more years.
The book is well written in a straight forward, easy to read manner with lots of humor. Who said reading a memoir is boring. Heather Henderson does an excellent job narrating the book.
Not better, just a different way to read. Plus at this point in time you need to look for a used copy to read the book. I have been on a campaign to get this book on Kindle for several years, but it hasn't happened, yet.
Betty's first night at The Pines.
Betty Bard Macdonald
When Betty got a job offer at the end of the story.
For anyone who hasn't connected the dots, Betty Bard MacDonald was the author of The Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books for children which I have wonderful memories of growing up. She also authored several autobiographical books for adults. She told the story of her family and of her years growing up, of her time raising chickens with her husband and in particular, this book, my favorite, "The Plague and I". This is the story of Betty's time in a tubercular sanatorium in Washington state back in the thirties. At this point in time there were no drugs that could effectively treat TB and it was becoming rampant in this country. In this era, people were many times ordered into sanatoriums in an attempt to get their illness under control and effect a cure as well as to protect the public. Betty went voluntarily and this is the story of her treatment and cure. Lest you think this sounds too depressing for words, let me just say that Betty MacDonald was a top humorist of her time. Before you know it you will find yourself laughing out loud if not rolling on the floor. I have read this book at least a dozen times over many years and it never gets old. I know I will listen to the audio book many more times. Please give this book a listen, you won't regret it!!
After she came back home-trying to figure out how to live on 'the outside'.
I sure did learn a lot about recovering in a sanitarium! I cannot imagine staying there for so long! And quietly. And here she comes away with her sense of humor. What a gem.
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