Dorothea Dix had a difficult childhood. She was poor, hungry and at a young age in charge of the care of her younger brother, Charles. Her mother was not lucid much of the time and spent her time lying in bed. Her father drank away any money they might have and beat his children with a switch when they didn’t work hard enough. She was unloved and very lonely, which shaped her life. Dorothea walked 40 miles at the age of 12 to beg her grandmother to let Dorothea and Charles live with her. Her grandmother turned her away. After a few years, however, Dorothea’s grandmother sent a wagon to bring Dorothea only to live with her. During her time with her grandmother, who wanted Dorothea to marry in order to provide for her future, Dorothea had other plans. She struggled to fit in, to be female and not lose that identity in a male dominated society. She spoke her mind too much instead of being quiet. She felt God had called her to be a teacher. She soon taught morning, afternoons and evenings. She opened a school for indigent children to learn so they might have better opportunities in life. After a long illness during a journey to England, Dorothea began to think maybe teaching was not to be her glorious ambition to serve God. She had thought her teaching a way to instill godly morals and values for spiritual well-being as well as teach skills to better earthly lives. She develops a close friendship with another single lady and soon considers her the sister she never had. However, when tragedy strikes her friend, their relationship dissolves, leaving Dorothea feeling even more alone and bereft than she thought possible. She also tries to adopt her cousin’s young daughter, but again is rejected. Her heart broken, Dorothea throws herself into her work and publishes her writings. Even amidst this rejection, she doesn’t turn from God or searching for the one ultimate way she is meant to serve Him. She stumbles upon her purpose when asked to teach a Sunday School class at the jail for incarcerated women. Next door is where the mentally disabled people were housed. After touring the house, Dorothea is appalled at the living conditions and petitions the local authority to have this corrected immediately. Thus begins her tireless campaign for the rights of the mentally ill, their living conditions as well as their treatment. This is a very interesting and informative fictional account of the life of a real historical person. Such passion and devotion to a cause and to her faith are truly inspiring. Dorothea’s call to aid “even the least of these” guided her adult life, making her famous, but also opening doors to meet those in a position to help her crusade. This one woman through her generosity and tireless work made a huge difference in the lives of so many. This just shows what God can do through one person who is willing to answer when He calls.
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.
Although I'm not done with this book, I'm thrilled with Jane's writing and can't seem to get enough. I've already recommended this book to another Jane Kirkpatrick fan. Jane does her background work extremely well and I trust her interpretations. Dorothea Dix was an amazing woman and she did a great work in the name of God. Everyone, it seems, can relate to the subject of insanity. We might all know someone who suffers in some degree and it is wonderful to know that someone gave their life to helping "the least of these".
What does an epileptic, an insane person, someone with downs syndrome, a debtor, an alcoholic, a passionate woman, and a murderer have in common? Give up? Well, in the 1800s they would have all been put in the same jail cell. I have no clue who thought that would be a good idea and why some of the above mentioned were even jailed at all is ridiculous! Dorthea Dix is the daughter of a mentally ill mother and alcoholic and child abusive father. (Neither parent was jailed.) Dix spent her life trying to fit in and find a family; the family she had was incapable of loving her at all. When she reached 40 yrs old she discovered that her life's work would be relieving the suffering of those "relieved of their reason." She spent the rest of her life doing so. The book starts off told in fiction form following Dorthea from childhood to her twenties. It takes a more historical telling form when she starts her cause of humane treatment of those with mental disabilities of many sorts. This book tells of amazingly horrible acts of abuse to people of mental ailments. Including the ability to buy such a person to use for labor or entertainment purposes. Though it could read dry at times, the information is astounding. Dix is also made known to the reader clearly and I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for her. She always tried to fit in and yet was always afraid that she might become mentally ill. I give this book a B+. Really good. I received this book for free from www.bloggingforbooks.com.
One Glorious Ambition by Jane Kirkpatrick. This is the story of Dorthea Dix. She is the eldest child of a mother with mental illness who neglected her and a religious fanatic father who physically abused both her and her younger brothers. Dorthea at a young age is rescued from her extremely poor family to be raised to be a lady of means by her paternal grandmother. Dorthea is educated and well fed and becomes a teacher for young people who could not afford the tuition that was then required for educating the youth of the beginning of the 1800’s. Dorthea after searching for her calling in life finally finds that she has a gift for writing and then upon her lifelong journey of finding help for the mentally ill of the world. At the time these people were either housed in people’s homes or in prisons. Some states even auctioned them off to be servants or slaves. Dorthea’s great ambition was to see these “least of these” housed in hospitals where they could be properly fed and treated by doctors. She championed moral care for these people. Dorthea who was born a poor girl who was not even well fed grew into a woman who would tour the country and then eventually speak before Congress to try to get this country to take good care of our mentally ill and to encourage treatment of this illness at a time when they were routinely chained and hidden from society. When I first heard of this book, I knew that I had heard of Dorthea Dix but couldn’t remember why. This is a woman who usually gets a paragraph or even just a sentence in our history books, even in nursing. This woman who lived at a time when women were not allowed to vote or even speak before groups of men did all this work for people who did not have the means or the know how to even know who she was. The mentally ill of the early 1800s were not fed regularly let alone educated or treated by physicians who specialized in their care. The horror stories of this time must be know by those now who think that treatment of the mentally ill is not worth the tax dollars spent on it. This is a book that should be read by all those concerned with the treatment or who know a mentally ill person—and that is most all of us. This book was provided by Waterbrook Multnomah Press for this review.
Dorothea boards with relatives while in search of her Grandmother. She is eager to keep her family together (she and her brothers) while filling her earlier days writing and acquiring students to teach, welcoming the window to her true purpose in life. With reoccurant illness to battle she became a voice for the mentally challenged, those suffering behind the cold metal of confining bars. Her contributions to their welfare would be essential in bringing about later change to the conditions they endured.
Relive earlier days of torment and suffering through the well researched and written story of a gifted author. Character development was strong and dialogue reminiscent of the time period. I was not familiar with Dorothea's pilgrimage when I embarked in the reading of her story, but I now have a clear understanding of the challenges and obstacles she faced. I gained a desire to research more of her life from this book. Although the book drug a little bit in the beginning, picked up towards the middle and remained so until finish creating a memorable and fabulous ending. I did enjoy this book although The Scent of Lilacs, an earlier work of Ms. Kirkpatrick I enjoyed more. I can recommend this book to others especially to those who enjoy historical reads. I received an complimentary ARC copy from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for my review.
This book is based on the life of Dorothea Dix, who was expected to grow up, marry well, and be happy. She chose instead to pour her life into others – first through teaching (something she really loved, and she felt as though she had a “family” in each of her students), then by working to help the plight of those who were mentally ill. She was tireless in her desire to see that everyone be treated well, and kept coming back to the fact that the Bible talks about “the least of these” – for Dorothea, this really was all about those who weren’t able to better to their lives on their own.
Dorothea became a published writer later in life, and used the money earned from book royalties to help support her trips across the nation, her time on Capitol Hill, and more. This allowed her to be self-sufficient, but she also used the money to impact the lives of others, not to advance herself (even refusing to allow that buildings be named in honor of her!).
This book was amazing in the level of detail it gave, and how much it drew you into the story. It literally made everyone “come alive”, and you felt like you “knew” the people whose lives you were reading about. I was able to feel her pain, disappointment, heartbreak, joy, excitement, happiness – that’s the sign of a great author, when you don’t just walk away from a book thinking that it was a nice read, but you walk away feeling like your life was changed as a result of what you read.
For anyone who has a heart for others, and maybe even for those who don’t often think about the ways that you can help others, this book is truly a great read. It’s my favorite type of book, one that doesn’t just “feel good”, but a book that shows how God used one person to impact so many lives. A person who didn’t think she came from much, who didn’t have many advantages, who really wasn’t expected to do anything but marry well – look at all that she was able to accomplish! What an encouragement that was to me, and I’m sure it would be the same for others as well.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are completely my own.
I've never heard about Dorothy Dix before, but I would say she reminds me of the late Mother Theresa. A very strong woman with a rough past, who isn't afraid to help others to the point of neglecting herself *which I wouldn't recommend* we should all take care of ourselves equally. Yet her self-sacrifice is a beautiful thing, especially as we uses her talents to work with the handicapped/mentally ill, I was afraid of disturbing subject manor, but the author manages to explain everything solidly and with understanding. The historical aspect is near perfection, while there are chapters that can become a little slow, you want to press on and finish.
*Thank you to the Publisher for giving me a copy in exchange for a non-profit, unbiased, review*
It's time, it's time! A new novel by Jane Kirkpatrick! Historical Fiction is my very favorite genre. This book is about Dorothea Dix, best known for her care reform for mentally ill patients.
As ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. --Matthew 25:40
I love the thoroughness of Jane Kirkpatrick's novels. I am eager to join in discovering the life of Dorothea Dix.
Dorothea Dix had a strong undertaking of freedom for others to the greatest of her ability. An advocate where others turned away.
My Review: One Glorious Ambition begins sooner than she realizes. Dorothea Dix strives to find her place. She is compassionate and caring. She longs to shelter her brothers but finds that she must leave them with the knowledge of her love for them and her openness to receive them wherever she is. She was motivated in schooling young girls, to educate and train them in reaching their full potential in whatever chosen as their life goal. She wore herself to a frazzle with all of the classes she held and wanting the accomplishments for her students. In the late afternoons and evenings she opened her carriage house school where she taught those who could not pay for their education.
Give me to know that but one human being has been made better by my precepts, more virtuous by my example, and I shall possess a treasure that the world can never take from me. --Dorothea Dix, One Glorious Ambition, 88
As much as she struggled, she was often misunderstood in her striving to elevate others in preference to herself. She became quite ill and came under the care of William and Elizabeth Rathbone at their Greenbank estate home. Regaining her health, she sees modeled in those around her:
The people hovering around the central fires at Greenbank were interested in the world around them and active in their pursuit of ministry without being demanding of others. They paced themselves in their work and thus had much to draw on for the care of others. They gave their time, their strengths, as well as their money. God's love, that's what should burn the fire in the hearth of a home. --Ibid., 160
Places you have never imagined. Through turns of events, Dorothea is asked to take a Sunday school in an East Cambridge jail.
Perhaps these women didn't know their purpose, hadn't been given the news that they were loved by one greater than all others, a love that could help them make a better life when they left this place. --Ibid., 184
Before leaving, Dorothea goes to the building across the way; the one she had been warned against.
If I am cold, they are cold; if I am weary, they are distressed; if I am alone, they are abandoned. --Dorothea Dix
In that moment, Dorothea knew: it was beyond them to change by themselves. They could not help it, might never change at all, but each of them deserved to be treated with kindness, care, hope. She could see that now. They needed others--they needed her. --Ibid., 191
It has always amazed me how the very small thing I was likely even unaware of, is what the Lord used in a larger way later in my life. Prepared in advance for what He had for me to do. Dorothea's life purpose is becoming very clear to her. What she avoided has now become her champion. She has discovered her place in His path before her.
Give me one glorious ambition for my life To know and follow hard after You --Mark Altrogge, "One Pure and Holy Passion"
One Glorious Ambition - Jane Kirkpatrick Format: Trade Paperback ISBN: 9781400074310 Release: April 2, 2013 Fiction - Historical One Glorious Ambition by Jane Kirkpatrick
JANE KIRKPATRICK has authored more than twenty books, including The Daughter's Walk and Where Lilacs Still Bloom. A lively speaker, Jane is a frequent keynote presenter for conferences, women's retreats, fund-raisers, and workshops. Jane believes that our lives are the stories that others read first, and she encourages groups to discover the power of their own stories to divinely heal and transform. She lives with her husband., Jerry, in Central Oregon. Introducing Jane Kirkpatrick, a speaking sample ~ wouldn't it be fun to sit under Jane's tutelage? I so enjoy her blog posts. As an author, speaker, and mental health professional, she is well-versed. "To fit things into tight places." This is what she has done! So many intricate, delicate words, woven into lives that thread into ours! Thank you, Jane Kirkpatrick, for your wonderful writing style expressed through life. Strength and flexibility.
Author, Jane Kirkpatrick Most of my novels are based on the lives of historical women and this woman, Dorothea Dix, engaged me as she was an early reformer for mental health, something I've been involved with myself for many, many years. This quote of Dorothea's is also an inspiring thought: "In a world where there is so much to be done. I felt strongly impressed that there must be something for me to do." ~Dorothea Dix 1802-1887.
Book Description: One dedicated woman...giving voice to the suffering of many 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.
***Thank you to WaterBrook Multnomah blogging for Books for sending me an Advance Reading Copy of Jane Kirkpatrick's novel, One Glorious Ambition, in exchange for a review in my own words. This novel is available for pre-order and will be released on April 2, 2013.***
I can only begin to imagine how much time this book took to research and write. Jane Kirkpatrick had to have spent countless hours pouring over much information and trying her hardest to condense it into an interesting fiction book that is full of correct, historical facts. I like that about her. I love to learn, but sometimes I don't like reading textbook facts from books. It's much more fun to learn great historical records from a fiction book and then to go back later and research it some more.
Being a music therapist and working a lot with the mentally ill, I found Dorothea Dix to be an amazing woman in her advocacy for the mentally ill patients and their care. You can see that through her life, God had prepared her to be used for this cause. He gave her all the knowledge that she would need and placed her at the right places at the right times to be a voice for the mentally ill patients.
I like how this book focuses on the different years of her life. I feel like our younger years define much of us and to leave that information out would have been a disservice. She learned a lot from her earlier years, which led to her being used as she grew older. Her home life was not one to be desired, but she is a huge example of someone who turned it around and let God do something amazing with her life. What a testimony!
I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion of this book.
Jane Kirkpatrick Brings the Past Charmingly to Lif
Date:March 11, 2013
Location:Oregon City, OR
Once again, Jane Kirkpatrick has done what she does so exquisitely…reached back into the pages of history and breathed a woman to life on the page. Her newest book, “One Glorious Ambition,” tells the story of Dorothea Dix a woman who became famous for her campaign to give the mentally ill basic human rights and humane treatment. Jane’s Dorothea is complex, witty, vibrant and infinitely human. She is neither an angel nor a tartar, but a woman of deep compassion moved by the needs of those who were unable to speak for themselves. Jane Kirkpatrick has a unique ability to capture the essence of the time period she is writing in and delivers strong historical fiction with a uniquely feminine perspective. If you’ve never read one of Jane’s books, then you are depriving yourself of a rare treat. Jane is that rare combination of thorough historical researcher combined with an eloquent writer that delivers a highly satisfying piece of historical fiction. “One Glorious Ambition” is a must-read for history buffs and especially for those interested in how the actions of one person’s glorious ambition helped change the face of treatment for the mentally ill. “One Glorious Ambition” is scheduled for release on April 2, 2013. This book was provided to me by WaterBrook Press for this review. The opinions, however, are entirely my own!
One dedicated woman...giving voice to the suffering of many
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.
If you're ever called by God to do something, no matter where you run, God will always pull you back into His plan, just like Jonah, who ran away and got swallowed by a whale. You just can't run away from His plan. Believe me, I have tried and failed many times.
This book was very slow moving for me. I had a hard time with the main character of Dorthea Dix. To be honest, I'm about 3/4 of the way through the book and I'm not sure I'm going to be able to finish it. The author is trying to bring to life the historical figure of Dorthea Dix, but I have decided this is a person I just cannot quite understand.
The life of Miss Dix has been broken down into three parts in this book. Her younger days as a girl who was basically abandoned by her family and sent to live with relatives and when she is trying to find her purpose in life. Early on she decides not to get married and I could never quite figure out her reason why. The second part is when she's middle-aged. She travels abroad and also seems to find her God ordained purpose. I never got to the third part, but I'm guessing it covers the portion of her life when she works with the nurses during the Civil War (I did Google the real life of Dorthea Dix... I wasn't super excited about it there either).
I'm not sure exactly what was more of a turn off for me. I felt like Dorthea was a very strong and capable woman, but was constantly second-guessing herself. So much so, that I found her very pathetic to read about. She also worked herself until she was ill - several times. I just couldn't understand this (the author did try to address this, but I just couldn't wrap my head around it). If Miss Dix was so concerned about taking care of others, she needed to learn a little self-control when it came to keeping herself healthy.
Miss Dix WAS amazing in the way she advocated for the mentally ill and the poor and suffering. If the depiction of her in this book is accurate, she was constantly mixing with those people who were probably deemed as untouchables. She worked hard to get these people into tolerable living environments and raised funds for new hospitals and institutions.
I think this book was a good narrative of the life of Dorthea Dix. It just wasn't the book for me and I'm sorry I couldn't get through it.
Jane Kirkpatrick has found an interesting niche in the writing world, her novels are fiction based on historical fact. Unlike other historical fiction that focuses on created characters during a certain period, Kirkpatrick seeks to tell the story of actual historical figures while taking some artistic license to create engaging stories. She does this by doing a great deal of research on the subjects she chooses, she then takes the information and crafts a tale around it. These stories are not 100% truth, but given the information at hand Kirkpatrick writes a story that is completely plausible given the time period and research on the subject’s life. This is the third of Jane Kirkpatrick’s novels I’ve read and I’ve learned a great deal from each of them, although some are more engaging than others.
In One Glorious Ambition Kirkpatrick tells the story of Dorothea Dix, a woman who championed reform in care for the mentally ill. Before the creation of asylums and mental institutions, those who suffered from mental illness were treated as criminals and housed alongside them. Upon discovering this, Dix made it her mission to be a voice for those who couldn’t speak for themselves. At first she took her case state by state, but eventually ended up fighting for reform at the national level in Washington, D.C. Jane Kirkpatrick does a beautiful job telling Dix’s story in a way that is simultaneously engaging and informative. The story is well written and the characters kept me entertained. I enjoyed getting to know about Dorothea Dix and what drove her to seek reform for the mentally ill. I am grateful that Jane Kirkpatrick has found this niche and retells history in a way that is much more engaging and entertaining that your typical American History book. I look forward to seeing who’s story she chooses to tell next.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.
One Glorious Ambition by Jane Kirkpatrick is a historical fiction novel about Dorothea Dix and her crusade to help others, specifically the mentally ill.
Dorothea was born to an abusive father and to a mother who suffered from a mental illness. As a young girl, Dorothea longs to take care of her younger brothers, but when she is fourteen she is sent away to live with relatives in order to be raised properly. Everyone thinks she should find a husband, but Dorothea has no desire to live the life that others think she should. She has a yearning to fulfill her God-given calling and soon she discovers that she has a gift for teaching. Eventually she is reunited with her brothers and after a visit to a prison that houses the mentally ill, Dorothea finds were her heart and her true calling lies. She begins a journey that takes her across the nation, where she meets many people in high authority. She constantly seeks to help those who "are the least of these".
I love reading Historical Fiction and really had high hopes for this book. I was greatly disappointed. The book is divided into two parts. The first part was just okay and I found the second part very dull and it was a chore just to get through. In my opinion, Dorothea Dix's life is not exiting enough to be this large of a novel. It would of been much better if the story was shortened.
***This book was provided to by Waterbrook/Multnomah in exchange for my review.
One Glorious Ambition - Blog Tour One Glorious Ambition by Jane Kirkpatrick was a novel about Dorothea Dix and her crusade to help the mentally ill.
In the early 1800's mentally ill people were thrown in prisons to serve times along criminals without any medical assistance. After seeing the plight of these people, Dorothea Dix was determined to make a difference.
I must confess that I love historical fiction. It is by far my most favorite read. This book however just did not grab my attention. While Miss Dix was an interesting person I don't think she was interesting enough to warrant a 400 page novel. I thought the first half of the book was definitely a page turner, the second half was a struggle for me and, took forever to finish.
Jane Kirkpatrick is a great writer and I have enjoyed many of her books in the past, this is just not a book that I would recommend to a friend, unless they have a great interest in the field of mental health.
This book was provided to me by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for my honest review.
In One Glorious Ambition: The Compassionate Crusade of Dorothea Dix, author, Jane Kirkpatrick "combines historical accuracy with the gripping narrative of a woman who recognized suffering when others turned away" in order to tell the story of Dorothea Dix.
The book states this as a story of "one dedicated woman...giving voice to the suffering of many." But was hers a desire to alleviate the suffering of many or her own?
Whereas, the protagonist's life experiences shaped her future work, I can not accurately state from this book that its desire stemmed from a heart desiring to do God's will rather than satisfying her own desire to find her life's purpose.
The story portrays Dorothea Dix as unattached to her own mother's plight of insanity while being all consumed with the suffering of others who were insane. This inconsistency made her seem cold and distant, often self-absorbed rather than compassionate. In her relationships, she seems to be so needy and selfish that no real relationships are formed and sustained until the latter portion of her life and that may have resulted more in the singleness of purpose with those who shared her interest.
The author's portrayal of her character and ideals left me uncertain as to the morals of the character. Dorothea blames the democracy's 'excitement' for the insanity of many. Her cure namely being the moral treatment of patients with order and discipline. She crusades on the behalf of the mentally ill being above "politics" but not above "charm campaigns," all the while battling not to become the mentally ill herself. She does not question the ethics of her campaigns to "polish the soul" of those whom she wants to contribute to her cause as long as she remains the "top that keeps on spinning."
This book did not elevate my opinion of Dorothea Dix in any way but rather caused me to look at her work as a result of personal ambition rather than for God's glory.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
"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.
Jane Kirkpatrick is one of those authors who has the ability to take an everyday person's experience and write it in story form. I have never heard of Dorothea Dix until I read this book, The Glorious Ambition. WOW! What a story! Dorothea is only twelve but with a mother more interested in herself, her world and no need for children and a pompous father, Dorothea takes it upon herself to try and take care of her brothers. She takes Charles to her grandmother's home. Where she is met with great surprise and unfortunately her grandmother believes that they are better off with their parents. Poor Dorothea! Trying to take care of her small brothers and with a terrible father who constantly shouts and can't provided for his family. Her father actually traded land for books! Land that is worth a fortune for books that could be bought! Dorothea has a grace and compassion that lends her to be strong for Dorothea must be strong. As Dorothea grows she is astonished that no one speaks up for the mentally ill, the insane. So she becomes involved during a time when women are not to have had learning or too many brains for thinking. She submits a report and writes, "Insanity is the result of imperfect or vicious social institutions and observances. . . The lack of order and structure presses people into insanity." (p. 245) This is one of the best fiction books I've ever read about a true person. Again, WOW! Jane Kirkpatrick presents a fine work of art and a telling of oppression that far exceeds the human mind! A read not to be missed! *This book was provided for review by Waterbrook/Multnomah*
(Summary and My Rating) for “One Glorious Ambition
Date:February 4, 2013
(Summary and My Rating) for “One Glorious Ambition by Jane Kirkpatrick"
"One dedicated woman...giving voice to the suffering of many. 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."
Pro's: Love, love, LOVED this book! Historical fiction? Yes! Good plot line/story line? Yes! Did Kirkpatrick intertwine God into the story? YES!
Con's: None. The book was awesome!
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.