Now, this was interesting. The true story of Ruth Barnett, an abortionist for the better part of fifty years back when such things were illegal. It is a fascinating look at the time period, and breaks the myth that it was a shameful back-ally procedure. I mean, it was a shameful, back ally procedure, but what I didn’t know was that it was also seen largely as a victimless crime, which the police almost completely failed to prosecute so long as a) no one died, and b) the bribe money kept flowing freely.
Solinger realises what so many other biographers have done – her subject alone cannot sustain three hundred pages – but instead of increasingly painful and desperate digressions (which is a familiar burden to anyone who reads a lot of this sort of thing), she admits, in a piece of refreshing straightforwardness, that she is going to change tack, then spends a hundred pages talking about other figures important to the industry at the time.
There is some bias: Solinger is openly pro-choice, and makes no secret that she is not presenting both sides of the argument, rather painting a (possibly too) flattering picture of a woman who polarised opinions during her career and long after it.
Read this. You’ll probably learn something.