I forgot I wanted to write a review of the book Unfit by Lara Cleveland Torgeson, who set her novel in the time period Eugenics Boards were approving forced sterilizations in some states, in this case the state of North Carolina.
Chrissy is sterilized by her mother’s consent because the local social worker threatened to cut their welfare check if the mom did not agree to the procedure. The family was poor, and Chrissy ran away from home with a friend where the two of them performed sex acts for men who were willing to pay their way a little further down the road to their dream of performing as a duo and hopefully becoming famous. This was the “crime” she committed that made her eligible for the sterilization.
There are stories of young people who never knew what had been done to them, but Chrissy knew. She wasn’t of age to refuse, but she said no. They did it anyway.
She fell into a bad marriage in hopes of finding stability as a young adult. As she grew stronger and accepted herself as she was, she and her second husband did decide to adopt children. She became the mother she wanted to be.
It still amazes me that these things happened in the US. This book felt like a memoir, but it was indeed a novel.
Unfit is free right now on Amazon Kindle.