I received a free copy of Terrible Virtue from TLC Book Tours for my honest review.
About the Book:
• Hardcover: 272 pages
• Publisher: Harper (March 22, 2016)
In the spirit of The Paris Wife and Loving Frank, the provocative and compelling story of one of the most fascinating and influential figures of the twentieth century: Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood—an indomitable woman who, more than any other, and at great personal cost, shaped the sexual landscape we inhabit today.
The daughter of a hard-drinking, smooth-tongued free thinker and a mother worn down by thirteen children, Margaret Sanger vowed her life would be different. Trained as a nurse, she fought for social justice beside labor organizers, anarchists, socialists, and other progressives, eventually channeling her energy to one singular cause: legalizing contraception. It was a battle that would pit her against puritanical, patriarchal lawmakers, send her to prison again and again, force her to flee to England, and ultimately change the lives of women across the country and around the world.
This complex enigmatic revolutionary was at once vain and charismatic, generous and ruthless, sexually impulsive and coolly calculating—a competitive, self-centered woman who championed all women, a conflicted mother who suffered the worst tragedy a parent can experience. From opening the first illegal birth control clinic in America in 1916 through the founding of Planned Parenthood to the arrival of the Pill in the 1960s, Margaret Sanger sacrificed two husbands, three children, and scores of lovers in her fight for sexual equality and freedom.
With cameos by such legendary figures as Emma Goldman, John Reed, Big Bill Haywood, H. G. Wells, and the love of Margaret’s life, Havelock Ellis, this richly imagined portrait of a larger-than-life woman is at once sympathetic to her suffering and unsparing of her faults. Deeply insightful, Terrible Virtue is Margaret Sanger’s story as she herself might have told it.
About the Author:
Ellen Feldman, a 2009 Guggenheim Fellow, is the author of five previous novels, including Scottsboro, which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, andNext to Love. She lives in New York City.
For more information on Ellen and her work, please visit her website, www.ellenfeldman.com.
Margaret Sanger is known as the woman who brought the conversation about birth control out into the open. She was one of 13 living children her mother had in a very unhappy marriage – there were also miscarriages along the way and she saw what the unending pregnancies did to her mother’s physical and mental well being. She wasn’t sure she wanted to even get married and have children but she ultimately did – not that she held to her vows or really care for her children. Her “baby” was contraception.
The book is written in her voice and she is a really hard character to get behind – she is not a very likable woman but as a woman I have to be grateful for her pioneering the cause. Far too many women were having far too many children and it was not good for them or the babies they couldn’t provide for.
Margaret gave a lot up for her passion but so did her family. One has to wonder why she went down such a traditional path when she was so obviously a women ahead of her time living a very nontraditional life. I was pleased to have read this fictionalized version of her life. It wasn’t perfect but neither was she – despite the good she did. I’ll be interested in finding further volumes to read to round out my knowledge.
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