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My Name Is Mary Sutter (2010)

by Robin Oliveira(Favorite Author)
3.79 of 5 Votes: 1
0670021679 (ISBN13: 9780670021673)
Viking Adult
review 1: I finished the book, skimming large sections of it. I think it was the writing style that kept tripping me up. A lot of historical detail that might interest some but given that I know my CW history well, dragged the story down for me. SPOILER ALERT: also, the protagonist is a not attractive, bossy, headstrong woman and YET somehow every man she encounters falls instantly in love with her. Hmmm. Realism, please? If you want to read about a woman attempting to be a nurse/doctor in this time period, you are better off reading Anne Perry's William Monk series. Though set in England in 1856, just after the Crimean War, the characters are far more believable while still engaging in the same ideas and themes. Finished because this is our book club book of the month. O... moretherwise, would have given this a miss after the first 25 pages.
review 2: My Name is Mary Sutter is the story of a New York midwife who becomes a nurse to soldiers of the Union Army, men who were more likely to die from infections than they were from gunshots. Mary's ultimate goal is to become a surgeon at a time when women in America were not admitted to medical schools. The novel begins with Mary’s failed attempt to apprentice herself to James Blevens, a surgeon in Albany. In a related plot, Mary also decides to leave New York due to the upcoming marriage of her twin sister to the young man Mary loves. Mary’s service as a volunteer nurse in the Washington D.C. And her fierce desire to learn the art of surgery drives the plot along with the ripple effects of war. She's eventually assigned to the Union Hotel hospital in Georgetown where she crosses paths with Dr. William Stipp. Together they try to bring order to the hygiene-deficient hospital under challenging conditions. Eventually Mary works her way onto the battlefield and learns what it means to be a surgeon.While the novel is told mostly from Mary’s point of view we do get some chapters involving Abraham Lincoln, George McClellan and his staff that give us some background on the difficult decisions of the war. The author's research into mid-19th century medical procedures seemed very authentic. There was lots of information on the surgical practices, the filth of army hospitals and the desperation of doctors fully aware that they didn't have knowledge necessary to save their patients. I liked the character of Mary, who seemed very heroic without being too saintly. She was sympathetic but not always likable. I really enjoyed this book and plan to check out another one by this author. less
Reviews (see all)
Excellent book about a young midwife's struggle to become a physician in the time of the Civil War.
An interesting book about a young woman way before he time!
Horribly depressing.
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