- Paperback: 372 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (October 7, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1250054516
- ISBN-13: 978-1250054517
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (970 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Necessary Lies: A Novel Paperback – October 7, 2014
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Employing accessible characters and compelling language, Chamberlain deeply mines the appalling, little-known history of North Carolina’s Eugenics Sterilization Program, in effect from 1929 to 1975. As worker-tenants on a tobacco farm in 1960, 15-year-old Ivy Hart lives with her faltering, temperamental grandmother, mentally slow yet breathtakingly beautiful 17-year-old sister, young nephew “Baby” William, and her own epilepsy. Jane Forrester, an idealistic social worker, whose status-conscious doctor-husband isn’t convinced his wife should hold a job, feels smothered by the social niceties of the early ’60s South and starts to question the boundaries and mutual respect in her own marriage. When Jane becomes Ivy’s family’s social worker, she encounters the state program that seeks to sterilize “mental defectives,” among others with supposedly undesirable characteristics. Through every choice she makes from then on, Jane triggers an inescapable series of events that thrusts everything either she or Ivy ever held to be true into a harsh light, binding them together in ways they do not immediately comprehend or appreciate. Absorbing and haunting, this should strongly touch Chamberlain’s fans and draw those who enjoy Jodi Picoult and Barbara Delinsky. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Chamberlain is the best-selling author of 21 novels, and her latest will have a 150,000-copy first printing and be supported by a major marketing campaign. --Julie Trevelyan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"This enthralling novel transfixed me from the very first pages." --Christina Schwarz, "New York Times" bestselling author of "Drowning Ruth
"""Necessary Lies "shines!" --Lesley Kagen, "New York Times" bestselling author of "Mare's Nest
""Expertly intertwines history and matters of the heart - love, loyalty and choosing what is right, no matter the consequences." --Heather Gudenkauf, "New York Times" bestselling author of "The Weight of Silence & One Breath Away
""Diane Chamberlain's "Necessary Lies" is the most important book she has ever written." --Dorothea Benton Frank, "New York Times "bestselling author of "Porch Lights"
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Top Customer Reviews
Chamberlain was the perfect person to write this story because she really knows how to write characters in such a way you feel bonded to them. I wanted to protect Ivy and root on Jane. I also wanted to wring the neck of Jane's coworkers and husband for their extreme insensitivity. The historical aspects of this book are so heart wrenching you should keep a box of kleenex nearby. It's absolutely atrocious that Nazi-like experiments were being carried out in the US under the guise of 'helping' the population. What makes this worse is despite the education I received in American schools along with European I never knew about any of this, it's still not being taught what was done in this country to innocent people.
I hope more people read this, partly to become fans of Chamberlain because so far everything I've read by her is good, but also so we can keep the truth spiraling out in the hopes of never repeating the past
Told in alternating first person perspectives, the story shifts between Ivy Hart, a teenaged girl living in a shack on a tobacco farm, and Jane Forrester, the newly married social worker who is passionately involved in this new job of hers, even though her physician husband is opposed to it.
Right away I could relate to each of them, and even though I'd never been in Ivy Hart's shoes, I had many clients who were just as disadvantaged.
The Eugenics Laws were new to my experience, however, even though I had read about these kinds of issues. Cringing as I read, I knew that the story was going to unfold in very dramatic ways. But the issues of mentally challenged individuals, sometimes institutionalized during the 1960s (and before), were practices I had seen firsthand. I will never forget how those experiences would change everything about how I viewed the world.
In this fictionalized tale, we see how one social worker's passion takes her outside the lines, risking everything to save one girl. How does Jane put everything on the line for Ivy? What happens to alter the course she had chosen? And what would be the final outcome years later?
A must-read for anyone who cares about social issues and justice for the disadvantaged, Chamberlain's story (and the preceding prequel called The First Lie) was one I could not put down. Five stars.