Perhaps it is an indicator of my improving mental health (it is), but I really enjoyed this book! In a morbid, worrisome, fun kind of way. Get Well Soon is a book about famous plagues and diseases (and lobotomies? for some reason?) and not only was it a fast, interesting read, it was also funny (obviously, humor is subjective, and I’ve seen several reviews saying the humor missed the mark for them, but it hit 100% for me—it helps that the audiobook narrator, Gabra Zackman, has a great deadpan delivery).
This is not a hard-hitting in depth examination of any of these diseases, but more of a broad overview, which is fine! I think it worked really well for the format. If I want more info any of these plagues there are books available. She cites many of them in the text of this book. Wright has a knack for zeroing in on a main point in a chapter, so they all feel really focused. She covers the Bubonic Plague, the Dancing Plague (also, what the hell is with this disease that sounds like something out of a horror movie??), the Antonine Plague, Cholera, Typhoid, Smallpox, Syphilis, Tuberculosis, Leprosy, Lobotomies (which was really interesting, and it works in context), Encephalitis Lethargica (which I had never heard of, and no thank you, please), Polio, and the 1918 Spanish Flu. (She also briefly covers the AIDS epidemic in the epilogue.)
One of the best parts of the book is how Wright just calls out everyone who deserves it, dead or alive. A not insignificant portion of this book is just Wright talking smack about historical figures who did dumb or terrible things. But she also goes out of her way to highlight the heroes, as well, emphasizing over and over how one of the most important keys to fighting epidemics is human kindness. Diseases don’t respond to fear or shame, and they are not symptoms of moral failing.
(I will admit it was disheartening and not a little eerie to listen to the introduction (and to a lesser extent, the epilogue) after COVID-19 has been with us for a year. This book could not have been more prescient if it tried.)
I will most definitely be listening to this one again. If you like audiobooks at all, and this sounds interesting, I highly recommend you go that route. I flew through this one.
[4.5 stars, rounded up]