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Charity Girl

3.24  ·  Rating details ·  863 Ratings  ·  161 Reviews
Charity Girl examines a dark period in our history, when fear and patriotic fervor led to devastating consequences. During World War I, the U.S. government waged a moral and medical campaign, incarcerating and quarantining fifteen thousand young women who were found to have venereal disease.

Frieda Mintz is a seventeen-year-old Jewish bundle wrapper at Jordan Marsh in Bosto
ebook, 336 pages
Published January 8th 2008 by Mariner Books (first published January 3rd 2007)
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Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) I am certain of it. The military complex of any nation has many and varied things they hold imperative to keep secret, from the ridiculous to the…moreI am certain of it. The military complex of any nation has many and varied things they hold imperative to keep secret, from the ridiculous to the horrifying. Having grown up in sixties and seventies with several members of the military in the family, I heard about some things that are no longer secret (such as My Lai)--and if those are the ones that have been revealed, the mind boggles at what probably hasn't yet.(less)
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Saleh MoonWalker
Onvan : Charity Girl - Nevisande : Michael Lowenthal - ISBN : 618546294 - ISBN13 : 9780618546299 - Dar 323 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2007
Jul 23, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
One of the things that I find disheartening about male authors take on female lead characters is that they tend to portray them either as batty loud mouthed women, that they themselves clearly would not find redeeming, or like little girls-- their own daughter maybe, who long to grow up and become real women. This was certainly an example of the latter.

I found my self vexingly connected to the character, hoping beyond hope that she would find her way through. Despite feeling frusterated by the
Mar 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a pretty depressing book. Dreams crushed by reality, minimal positive resolution. Maybe, too, I'm affected by the battle between conservative Christian ideals and liberal secularism played out on the pages, in an era when the conservative had the upper hand and abused it to a degree that would make the ACLU's head explode. It's scary to realize how recently America's Puritanical roots had that kind of power and sway. It's also interesting to see how this arch-conservatism backfired (not ...more
Bill Zink
I did not find this story to be particularly engaging, but I enjoyed learning about a chapter in America that I did not know about. I was surprised to learn that in 1918 America, the government imprisoned women who were deemed to be of low moral character and a public danger due to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. No matter that men—often the carriers of sexually transmitted diseases--were given a pass for engaging equally in casual and frequent sex.

Many, if not most of the characte
Sep 05, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: my mom - she's a fan of soft porn novels
I just can't do it. I can't wade through the cheap attempt at pornographic descriptors that make my head dizzy! Oh my god. Perhaps the book is good but I only got through 40 pages and can't take any more. If if takes you this long to develop a plot (if there is one), perhaps I should refer you to my beginner's creative writing course professor. He'd beat the crap out of your overfluffed story. I know it's unfair to generalize but, when reading books like this, I'm reminded why I dislike fiction ...more
Mello Osborn
Fictional book about venereal disease camps during WWI. Young girls who had tragic one night stands with soldiers are marginilized and dumped in with prostitutes into these camps that treat a womens' body as vectors of disease. I wanted it to piss me off but it came off as a little too easy on this part of history.
Pretty good, but not great. Confession, I didn't know about this bit of history - that during World War I, girls & women who had or were suspected of having, sexually transmitted diseases, were rounded up & detained in treatment centers. This happened to thousands of women. So - maybe I would have enjoyed reading some non-fiction about this, better than I enjoyed the novel, because I did find the subject interesting. Lowenthal's writing is decent, but plot & characters both could be ...more
Jessica Denmark
Jan 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As some of you may know, I tend to read some pretty odd-content books. CHARITY GIRL was no exception. Not only was a good read and generally well-written, but it told of a relatively unknown chapter in US history of moral and medical campaigning that lead to the detainment of nearly 30,000 women at over 40 sites around the country.
Having left her home and Russian immigrant mother, Freida Mintz works Jordan Marsh shop girl and is smart and independent. She lives on her own, with her $8 a week pay
This book is set during an ugly period of history that we were NOT taught in school. During WW1 women were unlawfully imprisoned (mostly prostitutes) and detained because they had STDs. The idea was to protect the soldiers so they could be healthy and go fight the Germans... Blame the women not the men.

These women were detained and "treated" for the illnesses. They had no rights and could have no contact with the outside world at all.

The story is about 17 year old Frieda who has a crush on Felix
I enjoyed the history that was included in this novel but the story aspect of the novel fell flat.
I didn't find myself loving any of the characters. Frieda, the main character, and a feisty young woman that runs away from her home to avoid an awanted marriage starts an independent life. But lo and behold she meets Felix; a meeting that changes her life forever. Personally I have a hard time identifying with or connecting with a woman that falls head over heels in love with a man she barely knows
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Michael Lowenthal is the author of the novels Charity Girl (Houghton Mifflin, 2007), Avoidance (Graywolf Press, 2002) and The Same Embrace (Dutton, 1998). His short stories have appeared in Tin House, the Southern Review, the Kenyon Review, and, and have been widely anthologized, in such volumes as Lost Tribe: Jewish Fiction from the Edge (HarperCollins), Bestial Noise: The Tin House F ...more
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