All You Have To Do Is Call

Berkley. Sept. 2023. 368p. ISBN 9780593102213. $28. F
Maher (The Paris Bookseller) imagines a group of women based on the Jane Collective of 1970s Chicago. The real Jane Collective was a group who assisted people with access to reproductive care and abortions in Chicago before Roe v. Wade was decided. Here Maher narrows her focus to three women near to and within the Hyde Park neighborhood and while the history of the time and the Jane Collective is correct, the characters are hers alone. Veronica plays the role of suburban wife and mother but in reality has become an activist who not only believes in women’s right to choose but is actively providing abortions. Patty is a lifelong friend of Veronica’s who has fully accepted the more conservative role for women but has begun to worry that there are cracks in her perfect life. Margaret, a junior professor at the University of Chicago, is sure that there is more that she could be doing, but a new relationship complicates her choices. As the three women navigate the personal and political, their choices will have lifelong impact.
VERDICT Maher’s well-researched novel explores pressing issues without sounding too didactic. Historical-fiction readers who are looking to stretch beyond World War II will find a lot to enjoy here.
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