author: Marge Piercy
length or # of pages: 408
quick plot summary: (Jacket excerpt) Post-Civil War New York City was the battleground of the American dream: an era of vast fortunes and crushing poverty; a time notorious for free love and the emerging rights of women, yet one that saw the rise of brutal sexual repression and the enforcement of prejudice. Though life was hard, the promise of change was in the air. Women were agitating for civil rights, including the vote. Immigrants were pouring into the city, bringing with them a new energy.
Embodying the times is Freydeh, a spirited young Jewish woman from Russia. Living in a tiny tenement flat with eight others, Freydeh juggles numerous jobs to earn passage to New York for her beloved family. Then she learns that her younger sister is adrift somewhere in the city and begins a search that carries her through brothels and prison.
rating: 8 of 10
what makes this book worth reading: It’s an interesting look into post-civil war America, with it’s prominent social castes, and the contrast of liberal progress to conservative regression.
what could the author have done differently to make it better: Nothing.
would you recommend it? Yes, especially to anyone in an interest of grass-root feminism, and the reasons it came to light.