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My Name Is Mary Sutter Hardcover – Large Print, 18 Aug 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 644 pages
  • Publisher: Thorndike Press; Lrg edition (18 Aug. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1410426386
  • ISBN-13: 978-1410426383
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.5 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,073,554 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

This heroine is truly heroic (The Times)

Mary Sutter is a satisfyingly complex character; a tempestuous mixture of touching vulnerability and courageous single-mindedness (Marie Claire)

Extraordinary. Vivid, intelligent and expertly told (Woman & Home)

[Mary Sutter's] pluck will win you over within pages. A debut as confident as its heroine, it's a sweeping love story (Daily Mail)

Riveting. The language is beautiful and the story will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout (Herald Tribune) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Robin Oliveira received an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and was awarded the James Jones First Novel Fellowship for a work-in-progress for My Name is Mary Sutter. She lives in Seattle, Washington. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Misfit TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 15 May 2010
Format: Hardcover
Mary Sutter is from a well-to-do family in Albany New York and the females in her family have been midwives for generations, but Mary dreams the impossible dream of being a surgeon. When the sabers rattle between the North and the South and the men of Albany gleefully join the Army, Mary heads for Washington City - if she can't be a surgeon she'll nurse instead - and she is soon literally up to her neck in wounded soldiers. Mary's story takes her to several battlefields and through her eyes we see the horror of what these poor soldiers suffered at the hands of ignorant politicians and incompetent generals. I haven't the words for it, so I will let these quotes do the *talking*,

"If we let one on the train who will die anyway, it will doom two."

"In all the world, there is not medicine enough to heal what ails the Union army, mopping or no."

"How do you forget coffins? How do you forget to supply tourniquets? How do you forget that people might die?"

"Days later, the citizens of Washington would remark that the Potomac had turned the color of rust, but would not make the connection until news of the enormous numbers of casualties came pouring in."

"If they had just washed their hands between patients, then all those deaths could have been prevented."

This is a novel that will move you and anger you. I actually had to put it down a couple of times and take an emotional break with something lighter. You will learn a whole lot more about the removal of limbs than you might ever wish to know and if you are the least bit fainthearted this might not the book for you. One more thing, if you're expecting "a gorgeous love story" as one jacket blurber mentions - you are not going to find it here.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Denise4891 TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In the last few years I've enjoyed quite a few books set during the American Civil War - I'm not interested in the battles themselves, but the social changes taking place in the background (abolition of slavery, changing role of women etc) and this compelling story is one of the best I've read.

Despite coming from a relatively wealthy family, Mary Sutter (like her mother before her) works as a midwife. However, her fascination with medicine doesn't end there and she dreams of becoming surgeon, an almost impossible ambition for a woman of her class at that time, and accordingly, the doors of the city's medical school are closed in her face. She almost succeeds in persuading a local doctor, James Blevens, to take her on as an apprentice, when the Civil War intervenes and changes the course of both their lives.

Blevens enlists as a regimental surgeon, and Mary responds to the call of Dorothea Dix (America's own Florence Nightingale) who has persuaded Lincoln to allow her to recruit a band of female nurses to serve alongside the army medics. In order to avoid inflaming the ardour of wounded soldiers, Dix is very specific about the type of nurse she requires:

"No woman under 30 need apply to serve in government hospitals. All nurses are required to be very plain-looking women. Their dresses must be brown or black with no bows, no curls, no jewellery and no hooped skirts".

Despite being turned down because of her age (otherwise she fits the bill perfectly), Mary's determination secures her a position in an army hospital in Washington, where she finds herself working alongside Blevens' mentor, William Stipp, assisting him as he carries out countless amputations and other gruesome surgical procedures.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lisa on 27 April 2011
Format: Paperback
Loved this book - particularly the fact that Mary Sutter was an unconventional heroine in some respects but such a strong woman underneath it all.
Quite a few twists and turns in the tale and the level of historical detail was amazing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kat on 9 May 2014
Format: Paperback
Ah, I love a bit of historical fiction, but I honestly cannot remember having read a book set during the American Civil War. Coupled with the fact that Mary wanted to buck the trend and become a doctor, I was so intrigued about this book.

Right from the first chapter, I had to admire Mary. Wanting to apprentice to a local surgeon, she finds herself instead delivering a baby and suitably impressing the surgeon with her skills and knowledge. Despite Mary's disappointment when he turns down her request, she behaves professionally and simply continues trying to find a way into the medical profession.

As the story progresses, it becomes obvious just how tough Mary is, both physically and emotionally, particularly as events progress and she is confronted with some truly heart-wrenching and disappointing situations. Rather than just giving up however, she uses those events to drive herself forward towards her goal - although at times it almost becomes self-destructive behaviour.

However, there is a love triangle. It's not necessarily a terrible thing in this book, but it did feel a little unnecessary to me, as well as being kind of obvious how it's going to end up. Not that it was particularly the wrong ending, but it almost felt like Oliveira threw it in to appeal to readers that weren't really so much into the strong heroine and sense of history. I honestly would have enjoyed the story just as much without the triangle, or even perhaps without a romance at all.

My Name is Mary Sutter definitely held my attention, and I came out of it feeling like I had learnt a lot about the way that medicine was practiced during that time period, and the changes that came about due to the American Civil War. As a historical fiction, I found this a satisfying read with a strong heroine, but the romance really didn't do it for me.
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