My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I found this book to be compelling. At the time I was reading two other books. This one I could only read for short periods because of the subject matter. I would get so caught up in the war or the surgeries that I would forget to breathe. I had to put it down and walk around.
It was wonderful to find a book in which the protaganist was not tall,thin, blonde with voluptuos lips,and hair the color of honey.I like that Mary was sturdy, determined and had uncontrollable hair.
I found her struggles and determination extraordiary. Yet she was caring and vulnerable. Her way of seeking the fulfilment of her ambition in defiance of the times is amazing. The history of nursing, the unpreparedness for war of the United States, the lack of surgical knowledge all fascinated me. The wildness of Albany New York and Washington DC shocked me. The lack of knowledge about the role sanitation plays in health made me shudder.
I learned so much from this book but mostly I felt the horror of war. Oliviera's juxtaposition of midwifery and amputation made the latter all the more horrible. By leaving out the details of the battlefie, Oliviera concentrates on the chaos of the battlefield and the aftermath of the battle.
I wonder if more of us read the horrors of actual combat, would we be so blase when the President sends our young men to war? Would we have more compassion for presidents if we understood how Lincoln fretted and felt that he was losing his mind? Would we tolerate the way our injured are cared for? Would we have more compassion for our soldiers that return from the battlefield?
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