Here's a book concept, free of charge, that IMHO needs the creative mind of an outstanding writer to turn it into a best-seller:
"Mary Mallon was an Irish immigrant in New York City in the early 1900s. She was by all accounts a talented cook. But Mallon also was an asymptomatic carrier of typhoid. After she infected more than 20 people, with one dying, she was isolated in a hospital for nearly three years. Officials didn't know what to do with her, so she was given a second chance. Mallon, who likely never believed health officials who said she was infected, went back to cooking. Two more people died. This time, Typhoid Mary, as she became known, was given what amounted to a life sentence. She lived out her days — 23 years — isolated in a one-room cottage on an island in the East River."
Potentially great first-person narrative in here, with potentially powerful feminist/humanist symbolism based on Ms. Mallon's 23-year solitary confinement-- essentially, with only her own mind, memory & imagination as company.
Various "approaches" leap to mind: a focus on the strength (or even the self-affirming, undeniably humanistic trait of stubborness) that seem intrinsic to the character (both in her own self-denial of the authoritarian diagnosis which she rejected, and in her ability to survive two-decades-plus of virtual isolation); a poignant tale of what she lost (or perhaps what she found) through her enforced "quarantine"; the richly imagined fantasy lives "lived" during the confinement (perhaps a la Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun)... and those are just a few of the possibilities.
It may be merely my Sunday-morning musings here, but IMHO there's literary gold to be mined in this story... and while I think it might be best suited to be penned by one (or more) of the strong & talented women writers among our Redroom membership, there might be an intriguing challenge here to our male writers in crossing the gender line.
But in any event, it's a book I'd like to read... and one I'm pretty sure I'm not competent to write myself. (grin) And done well, it has all the makings of a sure-fire NYT bestseller.
--Earl "The Gift-Giver" Merkel