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Hardcover Charity Girl Book

ISBN: 0618546294

ISBN13: 9780618546299

Charity Girl

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

Charity Girl examines a dark period in our history, when fear and patriotic fervor led to devastating consequences. During World War I, the U.S. government waged a moral and medical campaign, incarcerating and quarantining fifteen thousand young women who were found to have venereal disease. Frieda Mintz is a seventeen-year-old Jewish bundle wrapper at Jordan Marsh in Boston; she struck out on her own in the wake of her mother's determination to marry...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Loved IT!

I absolutely LOVED this book. I thought it was fabulously written and interesting also. It was something I completely did not expect. I would recommend it to anyone who likes the Oprah book club-type books.

Powerfully timely book about truly human people

Charity Girl by Michael Lowenthal covers a dark period in American history. In WWI 15,000 women were detained by the government because they suffered from sexually transmitted diseases and were determined to be a threat to American soldiers and therefore to national security. Freida Mintz falls head of heels in love with soldier Felix Morse, but their one night of love leaves her jobless, sick, and soon in a detention home. Freida befriends the other girls in the home and learns a great deal about herself and life. That's the short summary, but this book is so much more complex than that. Freida struggles with feelings of betrayal by Felix, anger toward her mother, and guilt at her own actions. Lowenthal does an amazing job of portraying all of the characters as truly human. No one is purely good or bad, and the inconsistent actions by Freida are all too real. Felix writes beautiful love letters to Freida, but never makes the attempt to rescue her, and ultimately his actions leave her alone. This book is extremely timely with its discussion of how far the government will go in curbing citizens rights to protect national security. The intentions were good, but the procedures destroyed people's lives. Lowenthal is alternately graphic and modest is his depictions of sex, but the point he makes about the importance of sexual education rings true. The book is never preachy; it's just a well-written story with some of the most human characters I've found.

Highly recommended

Congratulations to Michael Lowenthal on this impressive work. There is more to this book than the story of a horrifying episode in American history. The growth of the main character, and the complexities of her relationships, hold the reader's interest throughout. It is also a credible glimpse into wartime America, with the "support our boys" mentality, contrasted with the country's passion for such stress-relievers as baseball games and dance halls. The author's meticulous research combines with a clear, colorful writing style, resulting in a remarkable novel. This book is an excellent choice for a book club, as it provides a wealth of material for discussion. I look forward to Michael Lowenthal's next book.

A Fascinating Era, An Intriguing Tale

This is a thoroughly engrossing read, both entertaining and informative. Lowenthal recreates the era masterfully, providing interesting historic detail which he supplements with appropriate dialogue and phrases ("gone to freckles"). Yet the historic background never overpowers the well paced plot and the thoroughly credible characters. Both Frieda, the young protagonist, and her mother are skillfully developed, as is much of the supporting cast. The reader sympathizes with Frieda's struggle to "stop letting `want to be' trump `is' " and marvels at her capacity for self-deception. The narration is a thorough interweaving of introspection, dialogue and action. The strongest scenes involve Lowenthal's explorations of the mind-set of the Charity Girls and, more importantly, the attitudes of their "wardens" and the prevailing culture. The motifs behind the wheel of the car and on the baseball field work splendidly. Charity Girls is a novel you don't want to miss.

Excellent Book -- Fascinating Read

Another excellent book by Lowenthal!! Charity Girl provides a riveting glimpse into an important historical topic that has not been dealt with much in American literature. Lowenthal has a keen eye for character, plot, and detail. I very much enjoyed the book and would highly recommend it.
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