Home Book reviews The Abortionist's Daughter: a review

The Abortionist's Daughter: a review

by Louisa Klein

I stumbled upon the Mad Fashionista’s blog while looking for review for House M.D. Being a hard core fan of Hugh Laurie and the show, I was getting more and more disappointed by season 7 and wanted to check if other fans were feeling the same. Well, Elisa De Carlo (The Mad Fashionista’s real name) definitely agreed with me. She posted a string of witty, brilliant reviews who made me laugh out loud. Actually, calling them ‘witty’ is a little bit reductive. Armed with her unbeatable sarcasm, pointing out every single plot hole and always underlining the chauvinism permeating whole season 7 (not to mention season 8 … Gosh, I still have nightmares!). On her blog, I also discovered that, sadly, the writers of the most chauvinistic episodes were, well, were women. Yep. R.I.P feminism and self respect.
Anyway, after having read each and every single blog post by Elisa I realised …I didn’t have anything else to read! That was a tragedy, something needed to be done! I started frantically searching the internet, looking for something written by this female genius and ta-daa! There it was. The Abortionist’s Daughter. And it was all mine muahahhaha!
Here’s the blurb:
It’s 1916 and Melanie Daniels, the prettiest girl in Mullers Corners, New York, and daughter of the town’s doctor, dreams of making a brilliant marriage. But scandal has doomed her dreams. Six years ago a woman died while receiving an abortion from Melanie’s father, and now that “the killer doc” is back from prison, Mullers Corners won’t forgive and won’t let Melanie forget her family’s disgrace.
Angry at both her father and the town, Melanie is easily swayed by a charming stranger who arouses mysterious new feelings in her and begs her to run away with him to New York City. Neither the stranger nor her life in the big city turn out to be what Melanie expects, and soon the twists of fate lead her into a new life in the less-than-respectable world of the theater–and a new understanding of her own womanhood and her father’s crime. Filled with vivid scenes of backstage life and fascinating vignettes of long-ago society, fashion, and mores, The Abortionist’s Daughter explores the challenges of being a woman in early 20th century America with drama, passion, and wit.
The Abortionist’s tale was an intriguing read for me. I would say it’s an historical-romantic novel with a social background.  Set in Upstate New York circa 1916, the story follows the (mis) adventures of Melanie Daniels, the daughter of a doctor convicted in an abortion related death. She’s just 19 and so very naïve (like most real teenagers) therefore makes a number of very bad choices. She escapes to New York with a shady man who then abandons her. She often trusts the wrong people. She makes friend with a super-idiotic actress who is impregnated by the above shady man (oh, bad boys are so sexy, aren’t they?) and then needs an abortion.
Melanie is naïve, but very smart and sensitive, so she learns a lot along the road, does her best to fix her mistakes and tries not to make new ones.
I highly recommend this book, it being very well written and with some great descriptions of into turn-of the century America.
Just a few notes friendly notes for the author:

  1. Please change the cover. I understand you want something old fashioned, but that cover (and the previous ones) really do not make the book stand out of the crowd. I recommend my creative and flexible (and charging reasonable fees) cover artist Regina Wamba. She rocks. Honestly, have a look at her portfolio.


  1. The title is unfortunately the same as a popular thriller by best-selling author Elisabeth Hyde. That might create confusion.

As for the abortion part, I’d like to say that, if it should ALWAYS be a woman’s RIGHT deciding if delivering a child or not, it should also ALWAYS be her DUTY to TAKE HER PRECAUTIONS.   And by precautions I mean FORCING (if necessary) her partner to use a condom. I’m not talking about Third World women/girls, here. I’m talking to you, privileged females living in the Western World. Please be smart. GET. A. DAMN. CONDOM.  In the UK, where I live, condoms are relatively low-cost and emergency contraception is given even to MINORS and without prescription. Still, the UK is the country in Europe with the highest rate of pregnancies among girls UNDER 16. Something is NOT right here. Abortion always involves another human being, not fully formed, sure, but still a human being, especially after the first two months of pregnancy. Why going through it, when we have other options?
You do have a choice. All women in the Western world have one these days, we don’t have to get pregnant anymore if we don’t wan to/ aren’t ready. We can skip the abortion part, we just need to be careful. We can study, learn, travel, work, have fun, instead of vomiting, having back pain and passing sleepless nights nursing babies.
Just remember, boys and girls, that a condom is the BEST protection against the WORSE sexually-transmitted disease, a disease that inevitably leads to death: LIFE.
 Info about the author:
Elisa DeCarlo is a writer/performer whose award-winning solo shows have been produced in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago. She grew up in Westchester, New York and has lived in San Francisco, New York, and London. As an actress she has been seen on television and film, mostly playing hookers or diner waitresses.
Since 2006 she has written a comic blog as an alter ego, “Diary Of A Mad Fashionista,” which is one of the Top 100 Plus-Size Blogs. She has covered New York Fashion Week multiple times (mostly to make fun of them) as well as Full-Figured Fashion Week. In 2008 she was profiled in The New York Times. In 1993 her first novel “The Devil You Say” was published and won several Best First Novel awards. It was followed by a prequel, “Strong Spirits.” She is also a vintage clothing expert and can be reduced to screams of rapture by a veiled 1940s picture hat. Elisa lives in New York with her husband Jeff, cats Rupert and Cleo, and Fletcher, the world’s most phobic dog.
To buy this marvellous book, simply click on the cover below:
To know more, have a look at her new blog: scenethreetakesixhundred.blogspot.com

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