A worthy read: "Something Worth Doing" by Jane Kirkpatrick
about the book....
Some things are worth doing--even when the cost is great
In 1853, Abigail Scott was a nineteen-year-old school teacher in Oregon Territory when she married Ben Duniway. Marriage meant giving up on teaching, but Abigail always believed she was meant to be more than a good wife and mother. When Abigail becomes the primary breadwinner for her growing family, what she sees as a working woman appalls her--and prompts her to devote her life to fighting for the rights of women, including the right to vote.
Based on a true story, Something Worth Doing will resonate with modern women who still grapple with the pull between career and family, finding their place in the public sphere, and dealing with frustrations and prejudices when competing in male-dominated spaces.
Although Jane Kirkpatrick's latest historical novel takes place over a hundred years ago, the novel feels utterly timely as it examines the role of men and women in society and the beliefs that have undermined equality. Kirkpatrick has expertly mined the annals of history surrounding Abigail Scott and her rise from obscurity to a woman who successfully advocated for woman and their right to vote in Ontario (and really, across the country).
Abigail is a richly rendered character who Kirkpatrick has successfully brought to life as a woman who readers will relate to, as Abigail celebrates the wonders of life but also walks through similar hardships we all face surrounding pain and suffering and death. The way she struggles to balance demands of motherhood and career are themes that remain unchanged to this day. As a male reader, however, I couldn't help but wincing at many of the beliefs of the men that are revealed in this book, beliefs that have largely changed for the better but still continue to pervade aspects of society today (as evidenced by the continued presence of domestic violence in all societies worldwide). Abigail's story is one that serves to inspire, as despite facing decades of obstacles, Abigail refuses to give up. She also is forced to examine her priorities in life and what really matters, and she discovers that she doesn't always get it right. In a time when we are globally facing a pandemic that is laying bare continued inequalities, showing the need to continue to battle things like sexism and racism and oppression, Kirkpatrick's book reminds us that the fight may not be over, but that victories small and large need to be celebrated. We have certainly come a long way - and we have still have a long way to go!
"Something Worth Doing" is a solid addition to the fictional repertoire that Kirkpatrick continues to offer to the world, another important story highlighting an admirable character from the past, a story that spurs us on to consider how we can change things to make for a better future. I award this novel a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
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