Throwback Thursday is a meme created by Renee at It’s Book Talk to share old favorite books rather than just the new shiny ones. This is a great idea to bring back to life some much-loved books. Please feel free to join in.
My choice for this week is: Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain
Published September 3, 2013
St. Martin’s Press
Diane Chamberlain has been a favorite of mine for some time but I think it may have been this book that pushed her towards the top of my list. I just love the way she tells a story with her writing.
Before I read this, I had no real knowledge of the Eugenics Program. I vaguely remember reading a magazine article years ago but that was pretty much the extent of what I knew.
One definition of Eugenics:
“the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population, especially by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics) or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits (positive eugenics)”
I’m going to try to keep this short. Many have already read this book but for those who haven’t I don’t want to spoil anything.
The book takes place in 1960. Fifteen-year-old Ivy Hart lives with her grandmother, her sister and her nephew on a small tobacco farm in rural Grace County, North Carolina. Her parents have passed away and she is struggling to take care of her family. With her sister’s mental illness, her grandmother’s aging, and her own medical condition (epilepsy), she is having a hard time keeping it all together.
Social worker, Jane Forrester is new to Grace County and is just beginning to realize how much help is needed. Jane quickly finds out how hard it is for her to remain detached and not become emotionally invested in her client’s lives.
She finds it hard to shut off and leave her work behind when she goes home to her new husband. Jane’s boss frequently reprimands her for becoming what she feels is overly involved with her clients. But Jane can’t ignore the secrets she’s learning about the Hart family. Decisions need to be made but how can she be certain she will make the right choice?
“How can you know what you believe is right, when everyone is telling you it’s wrong?”
This was such an emotional read for me but I’m still glad I read it. From the very first chapter I was pulled into the lives of all of the characters. You can’t help but root for all of them. This book had me thinking about all of my own opinions on many different subjects. Subjects like poverty, social work, mental illness, welfare, and especially sterilization.
The book flows so well and is told in alternating first person perspectives, between Ivy and Jane. You can tell Diane Chamberlain does her research. Although the characters are fictional, the fact that they are based on true cases is chilling.
In my opinion this is a must-read! A truly compelling story that I know I won’t forget.