Monday, September 2, 2013

(73)Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain

Necessary Lies

Pages: 352
Publication Date: September 3, 2013

It was a different time and a different mindset when newlywed Jane Forrester starts her new job working for the Department of Welfare deep in the South nearly fifty years ago.   She is eager to help people, but her sheltered life and protective husband leave her in for a world of shock when she first visits her new clients out on a tobacco farm in rural Grace County,North Carolina. The Hart family have not had it easy. Ivy's father was killed in a horrific tractor accident, their mother was committed after his death, and Mary Ella had a baby at fifteen.  

Ivy Hart is fifteen now and her Grandmother is terrified that she will end up just like her sister, Mary Ella.   Pregnant with no father around and an inability to really care for her child, so she asks the Social Workers for a permanent solution.   Ivy and Jane hit it off from her very first visit while still in training, Jane wants better for Ivy, too, but is concerned when she starts hearing about a "surgery" that some of her other clients, including Mary Ella have received. A surgery that will permanently prevent any more pregnancies, wanted or otherwise.  Jane soon realizes that if she wants to help Ivy avoid the "surgery" she will be going up against a system that has deemed it necessary. Will Jane be able to save Ivy from forced sterilization or will the system run right over her like it has many other innocent women?

Do you want a book club book that will generate hot conversation, then you have found your book. For a very long time in the state of North Carolina, the Department of Welfare used forced sterilization in order to control poverty.  Diane Chamberlain has taken this dark time in history and woven a gripping tale of two young women from opposite sides of the tracks who are both struggling to survive in this world. Jane is such a naive character and to see her deal with such a heavy topic was great to see, especially when she knew her new husband disapproved. i was very pleased with the character development in all of the characters, but especially with Jane.  I was almost proud of her by the end of the novel, if you can believe that.  My emotions were all over the place with this novel, I started out being appalled and went through a whole range of emotions, including anger and hatred. I guess an argument (insert heated debate here) could be made that this form of eugenics would save the government a lot of money, but when the women are not even told what is happening to them, well it was absolutely horrifying.

Bottom line, I have gushed endlessly about Diane Chamberlain for years now and with good reason. Her writing is so gripping that her books are the kind of books that stay with you long after the last page.   I can easily say, though, that I think Necessary Lies is one of her best books.  Like I mentioned earlier, the perfect book for a book club, guaranteed to generate a lively discussion.


Why I Read...

I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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