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Get Well Soon isn't so much a historical book about plagues, it's also about the human side of plagues; the healers, the sufferers and the people left behind. The book details not only catastrophic plagues like The Black Death, but also some of the lesser known plagues like the Roman Empire-ending Antonine Plague and The Dancing Plague in 16th century Europe (which sounds all very funny until you read that people pretty much danced their feet off. Literally.)
All the major maladies are touched on, from the horrific syphilis and tuberculosis plagues to the ravages of typhoid, smallpox and cholera throughout history. The sad fate of many plague victims, abandoned by their families and in some cases, abandoned by society, was all very heartrending. I also thought it was very interesting how the Victorians glamorized the pale, gaunt appearance of tuberculosis sufferers. Looking at any of today's popular fashion models or actresses, it's obvious that's an ideal that persists even today.
For the most part, this was very entertaining but felt a bit preachy in spots. Although I don't fault the author for having strong feelings about her subject, it felt a bit like I was being lectured to.
Overall, Get Well Soon is an informative and entertaining trip through the perils of the past, and anyone who loves history (and plagues. I'm sure there are people out there who enjoy a good plague) will definitely enjoy it.
Thank you to Henry Holt and Co. and Netgalley for an advance copy. This review is my honest and unsolicited opinion.