Daily Archives: February 23, 2015

Red Madness: How a Medical Mystery Changed What We Eat

Red

Title: Red Madness: How a Medical Mystery Changed What We Eat

Author: Gail Jarrow

Summary:  In the early 1900s, an epidemic spread across the southern states. Victims showed physical symptoms – like rashes and digestive problems, as well as mental illnesses.  Many went crazy and committed suicide.  It was a medical mystery with many suspects, and only one brilliant doctor would figure it out.

Six Word Review:  Mystery illness in the South solved!

I give this book 9/10 stars.  It’s a great non-fiction book about solving a real puzzle, but it had too many pictures of the sick patients. Yuck!

Gut Reaction:  Ewww… but what is causing it??

​I loved how deduction was used to finally solve the mystery.  The disease was very tricky–it mostly affected women (but not always); it was mostly in the South (but not always); sometimes it would make people go crazy (but not always); it affected the children in orphanages, but not their caretakers.  Looking at the clues to figure it out was really fun.  Lots of different theories were tested, but only one was right!

This book reminds me of An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic in 1793 by Jim Murphy, which won many awards and received high reviews by top journals.

Confession:  I couldn’t wait to find out what caused the disease!  I skipped ahead to the end and then went back to read the rest of the book!

–Guest Blogger Amy L., Magnolia Librarian

MAG