The Plague and I

Betty MacDonald

  • $19.95 paperback (9780295999784) Add to Cart
  • hardcover not available
  • Published: September 2016
  • Subject Listing: Biography, Autobiography, and Memoir; Pacific Northwest / Art and Culture
  • Bibliographic information: 240 pp., 5.5 x 8.5 in.
  • Contents

"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. When you regain consciousness you remember nothing about the urgent errands. You can't even remember where you were going."

Thus begins Betty MacDonald's memoir of her year in a sanatorium just outside Seattle battling the "White Plague." MacDonald uses her offbeat humor to make the most of her time in the TB sanatorium-making all of us laugh in the process.
Betty MacDonald (1907-1958), the best-selling author of The Egg and I and the classic Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle children's books, burst onto the literary scene shortly after the end of World War II. The Plague and I takes up Betty's delightful misadventures where The Egg and I left off. She continued chronicling her life story with memoirs Anybody Can Do Anything and finally Onions in the Stew. She lived on Vashon Island in Washington's Puget Sound.
1. "Oh Captain! My Captain!"
2. I Have a Little Shadow-Who Don't?
3. "Good-bye, Good-bye to Everything!"
4. All New Patients Must First Be Boiled
5. Oh, Salvadora! Don't Spit on the Floora
6. Anybody Can Have Tuberculosis
7. Heavy, Heavy Hangs on Our Hands
8. I'm Cold and So Is the Attitude of the Staff
9. Kimi
10. A Smile or a Scar
11. Deck the Halls with Old Crepe Paper! Tra, La, La, La, La, Lala, La, La!
12. Occupational Therapy
13. My Operation
14. Ambulant Hospital
15. Eight Hours Up
16. A Toecover and How It Breeds
17. Privileges
18. "Let Me Out! Let Me Out!"
19. "Whom's with Who?"

"Improbably funny. . . equally remarkable."
-Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Monthly

"Can you imagine writing a whole book about being forbidden to do anything other than lie in bed? But Betty does, and she somehow makes it a riveting chronicle."
-Lory Widmer Hess, Emerald City Book Review

"An appetizing, well-seasoned feast. MacDonald's sharp, witty observations as she spends almost a year in The Pines Clinic, outside of Seattle, are perfectly pitched to satisfy readers of memoirs and historical and journalistic fiction, with a huge dollop of idiosyncratic humour. It more than satisfies, in fact, because MacDonald is an impressive and engaging storyteller."
-Jules Morgan, The Lancet

"MacDonald writes about her seclusion in a way that is painfully, barkingly funny. . . . Her style is completely her own, the sprawling sentences packed with anecdote, incident, bang-on simile and throwaway wit-it's like overhearing a conversation between someone who keeps forgetting to breathe and another who keeps asking 'and what happened next?"
-Lissa Evans, Guardian