Title: The Plague and I
Author: Betty MacDonald
Dates: 7/22/16 – 7/30/16
The Pines where Betty MacDonald spent her nine months recuperating from tuberculosis (TB) is actually Firland, a sanatorium located in Seattle, Washington. Betty wrote about how she learned that she had TB – then just as much the terrifying killer that cancer can be now – and that she must enter a sanatorium for treatment. It meant such an upheaval in her life that she could not help but be dismayed. What would become of her two daughters while she was recovering?
Such a story is hardly the basis for comedy, yet in this case with Betty MacDonald at the helm we find that after the initial shock had passed, her natural buoyancy reasserted itself and from the day she entered the hospital until the day she left, she proceeded to laugh at her illness, the other patients, the nurses, the doctors and – mostly – at herself.
She, of course, had her bad moments when the despair and tragedy underlying what she saw and heard refused to be pushed astern, but she gritted her teeth and rode the waves with cheer and her funny bone intact.
Since this book is set near where I grew up and I’d always wanted to read more of MacDonald’s stories this fit the bill. If you decide to read this book and like it you may be interested in another memoir by her, The Egg and I. Enjoy!