The Freedom of Choice

This book provides the foundation that the freedom of choice for women is integral to their autonomy.  This book gives readers a glimpse into the early life of the founder of Planned Parenthood.   It is important to realize how women lived when the choice of when to have children was not one they could control.

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The Freedom of Choice what every girl should know

Title: What Every Girl Should Know

Author: J. Albert Mann

Target: Grades 7 and up

What this book is about:

This book is about the early life of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood.  It details her upbringing in a small town in New York where her opportunities were few. She watched her mother give birth to baby after baby while she and her sisters were tasked with maintaining the house and doing domestic chores.  Their education was cut off as soon as they were needed to help at home, or to be hired out as domestic workers.  With a future as a teacher or mother as her only options, Margaret realized that every girl should know that “there is no freedom without choice.”

Why I love this book:

  • This book is a very realistic portrayal of what life was like in the late nineteenth century for women, especially women without means.  There is no sugar coating the amount of domestic work required to run a household, or the birth and death of children when there is limited access to reliable medical care.  I found it especially fascinating since my grandmother was in a similar situation in Nebraska where she gave birth to 13 children at the turn of the century, and only 8 survived.  She also had a household on a farm where everyone worked – a lot.  
  • It absolutely showed how Margaret’s early upbringing was a basis for her desire to allow women to control their lives through controlling when they gave birth.  Both the physical drain on a woman’s body and the drain on the family due to the number of mouths to feed and care for caught women in a cycle from which they could not break free.
  • This book is fiction, but the author has based the events as closely as possible to what she knows of Margaret’s early days.  It allows the reader to get the information in more of a story format and the author felt it would breathe life into Margaret’s story.

Who this book is for:

This is a tough one for me.  It does not give a lot of information about Margaret Sanger’s life as an adult so if readers want to learn about the origins of Planned Parenthood or birth control, then this is not the book.  However, it does give readers quite an understanding of historical events that set Margaret’s thinking in motion, so perhaps a curious reader is the best one.

Final thoughts: 

I would have really enjoyed more about Margaret’s adult life.  There is a historical note in the back that shares more, but I feel the book would have been enriched if it covered a longer period of time.

To purchase this book:

Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: What Every Girl Should Know.  A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.