“One Glorious Ambition” by Jane Kirkpatrick, book review
Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s in California, I was not aware that education for girls was a relatively new addition to polite society. But in 1841 it was unheard of, unless the education was to make a girl ready to run a household and get married. Dorothea Dix was not really interested in marriage and when she came to live with her aunt and uncle found that she was a gifted teacher. She began with a small school to earn her keep. But this drive to provide education for those who lacked access to it would come to define her life.
Dorothea had been raised in a rough home, with a mother who suffered from mental illness. Nothing was really known about illnesses of the mind during this time and folks were often put in prison rather than a place of safety and treatment.
This novel explores many of the issues of the 1840’s including treatment of mental illness, education of the poor and women, traditional roles of women and treatment of the poor. The author does a great job of developing the characters and making the reader feel their pain or joy. I was quickly drawn into the time and learned to understand the hardship of those days.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.