Review: ‘My Name is Mary Sutter’ by Robin Oliveira

By Sandhya Shyamsundar, WBNUJS, Kolkata

This riveting saga takes place in New York, during the American Civil War in 1861. Enter Mary Sutter, much respected, remarkable and adept midwife who’s sole intent is to become a surgeon and to prove equal to any man. But sadly, medical schools refuse to teach women and repeatedly turn her down. Mary suffering from a broken heart, heads off to Washington DC where Dorothea Dix having persuaded Abraham Lincoln, recruits a band of nurses to tend the Civil war wounded and, serve the army doctors. Further, she is assisted and encouraged by two surgeons who both, infatuated, fall for her and help her in every possible way in the hope that one day, she will establish her medical career. The book chronicles not only the story of miss Sutter but of each and every soldier involved in the war suffering at the hands of corrupt politicians, incompetent generals and surgeons who are forced to amputate several limbs in filthy and noxious camp sites.