I was entranced with the passion present in “Necessary Lies” from the first page until the very last. This was my first book by Diane Chamberlain, and I was very impressed. This was another book where the product description didn’t adequately describe the fantastic story, but I was so glad I read it even though it didn’t seem like something I would like. The plot focused on Ivy and her family who are on welfare, and the new social worker assigned to help them, Jane. That sounded sort of boring to me, but Chamberlain crafted multi-faceted characters who I wanted to follow.
The main characters of the book were Jane and Ivy, two women who could not have been any different from each other. Jane was a woman challenged with reconciling the stereotypes of women’s role in society with her passion for helping people by having a career in social work. Ivy was a young girl who struggled to hold her family together. The strong writing coupled with the fierce voices of the two narrators revealed a world that was entirely foreign to me. Truthfully, I was uncomfortable with much of the treatment the women received, and had to remind myself that sometimes history just isn’t pretty. This was such a thought provoking book because the author provided two very compelling arguments for and against both the sterilization hovering over Ivy and the social confines Jane can’t manage to stay within. The story was amazing, not just because of the writing and the excellent characters, but because the author tackled controversial topics.
I have been thinking about the social scenarios in this book since reading it, and would recommend this to anyone looking for a slightly darker, but excellent character study.