Title: What Girls Are Good For: A Novel of Nellie Bly
Author: David Blixt
Publish Date: November 3, 2018
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "
Nellie Bly has the story of a lifetime. But will she survive to tell it?
by an article entitled ‘What Girls Are Good For’, Elizabeth Cochrane
pens an angry letter to the Pittsburgh Dispatch, never imagining a
Victorian newspaper would hire a woman reporter. Taking the name Nellie
Bly, she struggles against the male-dominated industry, reporting
stories no one else will – the stories of downtrodden women.
out of Mexico for revealing government corruption, her romantic
advances rejected by a married colleague, Bly earns the chance to break
into the New York’s Newspaper Row if she can nab a major scoop – life
inside a madhouse. Feigning madness, she dupes the court into committing
her to the Insane Asylum on Blackwell’s Island.
But matters are
far worse than she ever dreamed. Stripped, drugged, beaten, she must
endure a week of terror, reliving the darkest days of her childhood, in
order to escape and tell the world her story. Only, at the end of the
week, no rescue comes, and she fears she may be trapped forever..."
My Two Cents:
There are historical fiction books that introduce you to people that you can't believe you didn't know about before. There are other historical fiction books where you can't believe the subject isn't one that has been visited before. This book is the latter. This book is a thoughtful, vibrant send up of an amazing woman. Blixt makes Nellie jump off the page and had me wondering how on earth it took someone so long to give her such a great historical fiction treatment!
Nellie Bly has always been fascinating to me. Here was a woman truly before her time. She became an investigative journalist at a time where the whole investigative journalism genre was still quite nascent. She became a journalist at a time where women were generally expected to stay home. She went against the grain and wrote amazing pieces that showed the dark underbelly of things that the general public had little awareness of. This book dives into all of her greatest feats and how she went about doing her work.
I was particularly interested in the level of detail that the author infused in this book. Nellie's world changes a lot throughout this book. I loved how the author included some of the newspaper articles surrounding the events of the book. It was so interesting seeing how the things Nellie went through were covered (like the whole mental hospital episode - fascinating!!!).
Nellie is such a great character! I loved getting to meet her all over again in this book! I definitely recommend this book!