About the book: Born to an unavailable mother and an abusive father, Dorothea Dix longs simply to protect and care for her younger brothers, Charles and Joseph. But at just fourteen, she is separated from them and sent to live with relatives to be raised properly. Lonely and uncertain, Dorothea discovers that she does not possess the ability to accept the social expectations imposed on her gender and she desires to accomplish something more than finding a suitable mate.
Yearning to fulfill her God-given purpose, Dorothea finds she has a gift for teaching and writing. Her pupils become a kind of family, hearts to nurture, but long bouts of illness end her teaching and Dorothea is adrift again. It’s an unexpected visit to a prison housing the mentally ill that ignites an unending fire in Dorothea’s heart—and sets her on a journey that will take her across the nation, into the halls of the Capitol, befriending presidents and lawmakers, always fighting to relieve the suffering of what Scripture deems, the least of these.
In bringing nineteenth-century, historical reformer Dorothea Dix to life, author Jane Kirkpatrick combines historical accuracy with the gripping narrative of a woman who recognized suffering when others turned away, and the call she heeded to change the world.
Review: This is a excellent book and I enjoyed it very much. Dorothea Dix was a woman full of compassion and saw it as her God-given mission to help those struggling with mental illness. If you are from North Carolina, you might think this book is specifically about the birth of Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh. It is not. It tells of Dorothea’s steadfast drive and passion to help as many as possible dealing with mental health illness across the country in the late mid to late 1800’s – a time certainly when most were just called lunatics. She was instrumental in legislation and construction of facilities to house the mentally ill. Dorothea Dix was a crusader in this area of health care.
This is the first book that I’ve read written by Jane Kirkpatrick. Mrs. Kirkpatrick is also a former mental health counselor and administrator for those struggling with mental health illness. I believe this is also why the book was so good because she is writing about something that she has exposure to and is compassionate about herself. A good write and a very good read and I found myself “googling” Dorothea Dix and reading more about her – a wonderful Christian woman and a great advocate for those struggling with mental illness! (rev. P.Howard)
DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by the publisher Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for our honest review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.