By: Diane Chamberlain
At fifteen years old, Ivy Hart has known true heartbreak and what it means to be responsible for others. She takes care of her ailing grandmother, her mentally challenged sister and nephew, while going to school and working long hours on the tobacco farm. Her family is on welfare and is regularly visited by Grace County’s social workers, but she couldn’t even imagine how her life would change when she is introduced to Jane Forrester. Jane just got married and her husband wants her to be the typical country club wife, but she chooses to do more with her life. When she interviewed to be a social worker, she had no idea the types of people and the amount of poverty that she would be faced with on a daily basis. When she meets the Hart family, she feels a deep connection with the young girls and vows to help them, even if it costs her everything.
Necessary Lies is a poignant tale about doing what you feel is right, despite what everyone else says. This book is centered on the sterilization laws that North Carolina had in effect to prevent feeble-minded, poor people from reproducing. This subject matter is heartbreaking and could make the book a very depressing read, but Chamberlain makes sure that the characters and readers sense that feeling of hope. Chamberlain does an excellent job of demonstrating the strengths of the human spirit with each of her characters. By balancing the points of view, between twenty-two year old Jane and fifteen year old Ivy, readers will get to see the whole picture. This book is a must read for reading groups and fans Women’s Literature.
Jody Picoult, Ilie Ruby, Barbara Claypole White, Kristin Hannah
This review was written for My Sister’s Books bookstore. To learn more about this bookstore, please visit their website.