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What Every Girl Should Know: Margaret Sanger's Journey

Review

What Every Girl Should Know: Margaret Sanger's Journey

Margaret Sanger is an extraordinarily influential woman whom no one saw coming. WHAT EVERY GIRL SHOULD KNOW, by J. Albert Mann, follows young Margaret Sanger’s journey in a society where girls were only expected to be wives and mothers, and the only work they could do was teach. However, Sanger had a different dream, she dreamed to become a doctor. Sadly, she was born in a time where the idea of a female doctor seemed impossible. How could she be a doctor if she couldn’t even vote?

Margaret was not to be deterred by what society thought of her being a doctor, she had passion and a goal. She was the sixth of 11 children. Throughout Sanger’s childhood, her mother was deathly sick. This was Sanger’s first example of the strength women have. Sanger grew up with her mother constantly pregnant and seeing the toll these pregnancies had on her, especially the miscarriages. Margaret had to spend her childhood raising her siblings and doing household chores, as her own mother was too weak to do so. This would later lead to her passion of establishing the first birth control center in the United States.

"I highly recommend WHAT EVERY GIRL SHOULD KNOW! It is such a thought-provoking, insightful work of literature that I strongly encourage all young girls to read."

Margaret’s ideas of being a female doctor, being able to vote and legalizing birth control were widely unheard of in the late nineteenth century. Margaret was opinionated and an activist through and through. In the book, we can see the roots of Margaret’s dedication to feminism and women’s rights. We see Margaret’s passion and her want for more. Specifically, how she wanted to be more than a mother or a teacher. Witnessing the incredible hardships her mother, her older sisters and herself had to face just because they were women invoked Margaret’s want to advocate for women.

WHAT EVERY GIRL SHOULD KNOW was so heartbreaking. There were so many times throughout the story that I wanted to reach through and give Margaret a big, warm hug. My heart went to her every time one of her dreams were crushed or she was denied help and acceptance by those whom she needed the most. I thoroughly enjoyed this read, especially with Margaret’s witty humor. Margaret is confident and dedicated, and I greatly admired these qualities. She was bold and unafraid despite the most difficult of situations. The author, J. Albert Mann, was able to portray the struggles of a teenage girl so well. I was most impressed with her ability to express a teenage girl in the late nineteenth century with issues so distinctly different from the twenty-first century. However, despite these gaps in time, Mann was also able to connect Sanger’s issues with problems faced today. Mann emphasized the importance of confidence and not to shy away from the “man in charge” but to take charge for yourself.

So many times throughout this book, I felt myself getting riled up with Margaret. When Margaret scoffed, I scoffed. When she got angry, I got angry. When she cried, I cried. I was there with Margaret from beginning to end and what a journey it was. I am so impressed with the author and her ability to get me to not only be there with Margaret in her journey but relate and feel with her too.

I highly recommend WHAT EVERY GIRL SHOULD KNOW! It is such a thought-provoking, insightful work of literature that I strongly encourage all young girls to read. I also encourage the men out there to read this work of art. Honestly, it is so easy to overlook the obstacles women have overcome and to take for granted those who have advocated and fought for women's rights. I was so enlightened about so many issues I haven’t even thought about before reading this novel, and if you want to be enlightened read WHAT EVERY GIRL SHOULD KNOW: Margaret Sanger’s Journey.

Reviewed by Jordan B., Teen Board Member on February 28, 2019

What Every Girl Should Know: Margaret Sanger's Journey
by J. Albert Mann