Fever Year: The Killer Flu of 1918

Especially after suffering through the COVID-19 pandemic, people can easily relate to the graphic novel, Fever Year: The Killer Flu of 1918, which describes the influenza pandemic in 1918. People felt paralyzing fear as the news released more and more information about the unfamiliar diseases’ rising death rates, high contagiousness, long-term effects, etc. and hospitals were overcrowding with patients. Doctors and nurses were overworked, increasing their risk of catching the flu or COVID. Both pandemics caused the world to shut down; even the busiest cities or malls became devoid of life. The graphic novel’s description of the influenza pandemic is painfully similar to the situations people experienced in 2020, and it’s incredibly easy to relate to the characters because of these shared experiences/emotions.  

This graphic novel describes a historical event, which may be unappealing to most people, including me, but it doesn’t contain long, monotonous paragraphs; each page has minimal writing that briefly but impactfully describes various aspects of the pandemic in a way that makes the book difficult to put down. The art style is also pleasant to look at, therefore if you have a short attention span and reading seems intimidating/tedious, you will enjoy reading Fever Year: The Killer Flu of 1918.

Candace Fleming from The New York Times wrote an article reviewing Fever Year: The Killwer Flue of 1918 and expresses her gratefulness toward the book as it makes history interesting for students. She described that “With just a few simple lines, Brown has made us witnesses to the boy’s death. And suddenly, an event that happened a century ago truly matters. We feel sorrow and anger. We feel fear. But above all, we feel powerless – as powerless as people in 1918.” She perfectly expresses what it feels like to read this graphic novel.

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