Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain was the first book that I finished reading in 2014. I read this book as I decided to go to a meeting of the girly book club. I have been a part of Cannonball Read for 5 years now (wow how time flies!) but in the spirit of getting out of my comfort zone I decided to get together with some real live humans and maybe even make some friends along the way (spoiler, I didn’t make any friends).
First of all about the book. Necessary Lies is a tale of eugenics, empathy and changes in reproductive freedoms. Set in North Carolina in the early 60s and loosely based on actual events, this tale takes us through a turbulent time for both a young woman (Ivy) living in poverty on a tobacco farm and another young woman (Jane) starting out a career as a social worker with little experience or world knowledge. Ivy does her best to hold her family together, but is often left responsible for the care of her young nephew and her elderly aunt. Her sister has limited intelligence, and Ivy worries often that she will become pregnant again leaving Ivy to take care of more children. Ivy doesn’t worry enough about herself, and despite efforts from social workers to educate her, she denies her own involvement with any sexual activity. Jane is a doctor’s wife who although recently married, decides to secretly take the birth control pill and seek out a career in social work despite her husband’s concerns. The two women of course meet through Jane’s work and Jane becomes Ivy’s advocate, to her own professional peril.