Read advance reader review of All You Have to Do Is Call by Kerri Maher

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All You Have to Do Is Call

by Kerri Maher

All You Have to Do Is Call by Kerri Maher X
All You Have to Do Is Call by Kerri Maher
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  • Published:
    Sep 2023, 368 pages


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  • Michelle H. (Battle Creek, MI)
    Important Feminist Fiction
    Though clearly fictionalized, the story that is told in All You Have to Do Is Call has an important message. The book is an easy to enjoy story of women who are involved to varying degrees in the 1970's women's liberation movement and providing illegal abortions to women through the Jane network.

    I am so impressed with the Jane Network and the brave women involved in providing those abortions. Their message of empowerment and freedom is one that women today need to be reminded of, and might need to be brought to the forefront in our current times. Having lived in the era where abortion was illegal and when it was safely provided under medical supervision, the current environment is a bit concerning, and the novel brings a light to the issue.

    I especially liked that the women in the story were in varying roles of motherhood and womanhood, from single and not interested in becoming a mother, to pregnant and providing abortion services, to parent of several children and pro-life. This is the reality of women and the story allowed all points of view to be valid and honored. The story of each character was compelling and easy to relate to.

    Thank you to Netgalley, Berkley Publishing Group, and BookBrowse for the digital ARC of All You Have to Do Is Call by Kerri Maher. The opinions in this review are my own.
  • Cindy C.
    Interesting story of how a few individuals can make a difference
    I found the book interesting and the characters likable. It is based on a real organization that existed in the early 1970s and I found it particularly interesting how they were able to put together this entire "underground" network to perform abortions. Unlike many readers of the book, I am not a believer in abortion, but still felt that the women in the story worked to provide a service they felt was needed and stand up for a cause they believed in. That is possibly the greatest takeaway from the book: how a few people with a cause and a vision can make a difference in the lives of others.
  • Mary S. (Bow, NH)
    A great historical fiction perspective on current troubles
    It took me a few chapters to become engrossed in All You Have to do Is Call, but once it grabbed me, I was swept away. The book is set in the early 1970s just before Roe v. Wade becomes law of the land. Its focus is on a group of friends, some of whom are abortion providers (based on a real group) and others who are anti-choice. I think my early lack of enthusiasm was based more on the depressing fact that after 50 years, we are returning to back-alley abortions and the unnecessary loss of women's lives. However, I persevered with my reading and was rewarded with a great story and excellent writing.

    Through a series of events, the anti-abortion character understands the need for having abortions available for some women at some points in their lives. It also shows that women are incredibly strong and when united can accomplish some wonderful feats. Let's hope that we can join together again to get the Dobbs decision repealed and women's health can be in their own hands again rather than that of the government.
  • Elizabeth W. (Terrebonne, OR)
    Feminist History
    All You Have to Do is Call took a while to get into; it felt light and a bit too much like chick-lit as the characters were first introduced. But the author carefully builds her characters and fleshes them out. The budding of women's liberation and the march forward on abortion rights are the frameworks of the novel. The characters are appealing and the drama and trauma are true to life. Halfway through I found it hard to put down.
    The women-run abortion clinics in Chicago are a piece of history I was unaware of and was happy to be enlightened. Sadly, this country is headed backward on this issue, at least according to the Supreme Court.
    By the way, Girl Scout is a troop, not a troupe. I found some of the sentences to be awkward.
    Overall, an enjoyable and impactful book.
  • Linda M. (Ocala, FL)
    History Repeats Itself
    All You Have to Do is Call by Kerri Maher is one of the most important and thought-provoking books I have read in a long time. It transports us back to the years immediately before the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision which made abortion and a woman's right to choose legal. How ironic that this case has been recently overturned by our current conservative court. The book reminds readers of what life was like for women in this country when access to credit, homeownership, jobs and even birth control pills was often denied without a male family member's approval or signature. Women born after the struggles of the women's movement are often completely unaware of what life was like back then. This book is historical fiction at its best. It brings to light the true story of the courageous women of the Jane Collective in Chicago. This is the story of women helping women and struggling to overcome society's expectations. There are lessons here which, apparently, our country needs to learn all over again.
  • Jane M. (Carmel, IN)
    Very Timely and provocative
    I've read several books about the Jane organization. This book was inspiring and I like the way the characters were developed and grew throughout the book. The impact of the lack of resources for people of color and other marginalized people before Roe is overwhelming. Although we still have a very long way to go and are unfortunately backtracking, we have come a long way. The description of women's roles during that time period is spot on. It's important information for all of us and a well-written book.
  • NM
    Timely to Say the Least
    Kerri Maher's All You Have to Do Is Call is a captivating narrative centering around four women whose lives intersect as they create a system that helps women get safe, discreet, (and at the time) illegal abortions. This isn't just about "pro-choice" and "pro-life" as news headlines seem to condense the subject. This story shows women devoted to their families and to each other. I was moved by the characters as they navigate the complexities of their goals and values, determined to live their best lives, however they define that for themselves. Maher inspires us by showing how strong women can be as individuals and, more importantly, how much stronger we can be when we work together.

Beyond the Book:
  The Jane Collective

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