Monday, May 24, 2010

Review: My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira

Mary Sutter is a young mid-wife whose story begins right before the Civil War starts. She's got a very inquisitive mind and thirst for knowledge, but since she's a woman, she's facing huge obstacles in her path and desire to become a surgeon. No surgeon wants to take her under their wing to show her the ropes.

Also Mary has a twin sister who is more attractive than she is and this brings some level of conflict to their relationship, especially as they both cast their eye on the same man. But war is looming and change is afloat and soon Mary must make some bold decisions to determine the course of her future.

I enjoyed reading Mary's story a great deal. I really enjoyed reading about the medical conditions of the time, I thought the portrayal of the lack of preparedness of the country for the Civil War was well written and particularly striking, there are some truly horrifying scenes. I also found Mary's drive to be compelling reading. My favorite parts of the book centered around Mary and her family.

Oliveira chooses to share the perspectives of many different characters throughout the book, including many historical figures. This detracted from my enjoyment of the book a bit. My primary interest was in Mary, but many other perspectives were shared. Also, I personally thought the story lost some of the energy near the end.

Even so, it's a good book that should appeal to readers interested in the history ofmedicine, war-time medicine, the advancement of women's rights, and the Civil War.

Rating: 4.25/5
Things You Might Want to Know: a little bit of profanity
Source of Book: Received from publisher for review
Publisher: Viking Penguin


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