Summary and book reviews of Stories from Suffragette City by M.J. Rose

Stories from Suffragette City

by M.J. Rose, Fiona Davis

Stories from Suffragette City by M.J. Rose, Fiona Davis X
Stories from Suffragette City by M.J. Rose, Fiona Davis
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  • Published:
    Oct 2020, 272 pages

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Book Summary

Stories from Suffragette City is a collection of short stories that all take place on a single day: October 23, 1915.

It's the day when tens of thousands of women marched up Fifth Avenue, demanding the right to vote in New York City. Thirteen of today's bestselling authors have taken this moment as inspiration to raise the voices of history and breathe fresh life into their struggles and triumphs.

The characters depicted here, some well-known, others unfamiliar, each inspire and reinvigorate the power of democracy. We follow a young woman who is swept up in the protests when all she expected was to come sell her apples in the city. We see Ava Vanderbilt as her white-gloved sensibility is transformed over the course of the single fateful day. Ida B. Wells battles for racial justice in the women's suffrage movement so that every woman's voice can be heard. Each story stands on its own, but together Stories From Suffragette City becomes a symphony, painting a portrait of a country looking for a fight and ever restless for progress and equality.

This excerpt includes the full text of Lisa Wingate's short story, "Apple Season"

Introduction

KRISTIN HANNAH

I still remember the first time I voted for the president of the United States. It's such a crucial rite of passage, a pivotal pause on the road to adulthood. I remember reading newspaper articles in detail, listening to speeches, asking opinions of everyone I respected. I wanted desperately to be informed. I was in college at the time, at a large public university, and the upcoming election was big news. We painted posters and canvassed neighborhoods and put politics first in the school newspaper. Groups gathered after class to galvanize voters and encourage others to get involved. And then there was the actual day: walking into the room, presenting my voter registration card, and—at last—casting my vote.

But did I think about how I came to be casting my vote? At that age, I doubt it (although I'm sure my mother tried to tell me). Now, so many years later, I know...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. In the introduction, Kristin Hannah writes, "It is not enough to have the vote... . We must honor the women who fought for this right by voting in our elections and continuing the fight for equal rights." What does that statement mean to you?
  2. How do the stories in Stories from Suffragette City highlight the importance of voting? Are there any particular stories that placed the right to vote and what was at stake in a sharper focus than others?
  3. "The latest, biggest and most enthusiastic of suffrage parades, and the one which, according to the leaders of the suffrage forces, will be the last ever needed to plead their cause in New York, marched up Fifth Avenue from Washington Square to Fifth-Ninth Street yesterday afternoon, blazoned the ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

I loved this book! Really loved it. Although I am not a fan of short stories, I was drawn to this book because of the authors. I didn't know much about the 1915 Women's Suffragette March. As a side note, I also learned reading short stories can be as fulfilling as reading a whole novel (Martha S). Because of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment this year, I've been reading a great deal of both fiction and nonfiction based on the women and men who were part of the more than 80-year struggle. Of all the volumes I've read, this will take pride of place on my shelves. I highly recommend it (Patricia E)...continued

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Media Reviews

Tori Whitaker for Parade Magazine
As we approach the 100th anniversary of the first time women voted in a presidential race, how fitting it is to read short stories that illuminate one event that helped women achieve that right: a historic women's march in New York City in 1915. This book's collection includes authors whose work I devour?from Dolen Perkins-Valdez to Chris Bohjalian to Christina Baker Kline?and here they are, all in one place.

Kirkus Reviews
A landmark 1915 protest for women's suffrage is the setting for the dozen short stories in this rousing anthology...A diverse range of vivid characters brings human faces to a historical protest march.

Publishers Weekly
[E]ngrossing...As a whole, the anthology gives assured voice and intriguing dimension to the actors of a pivotal era.

Library Journal
This nuanced collection serves as an evocative reminder of the hard-fought right for women to vote and commemorates the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Reader Reviews

Sarah B. (Streamwood, IL)

Short story collection
I loved this collection. Each story was excellent and I enjoyed the glimpses of the suffragette movement from so many different author point of views. I enjoyed the little peaks of Grace too.

Lee L.

Wonderful and timely anthology!
I'm usually not a huge fan of short story collections and when it comes to books related to politics, I try to steer as far away as possible -- based on these two reasons alone, I most likely would not have picked up this book under normal ...   Read More

Karen B. (Red Wing, MN)

Historical fiction-short stories
I work at the Red Wing Public Library, and tend to be the person that offers many book recommendations, as I read a wide variety of books. But my favorite genre is historical fiction, and there has been a plethora of these books published in the last...   Read More

Martha S. (Mentor, OH)

Stories from Suffragette City
I loved this book! Really loved it. Although I am not a fan of short stories, I was drawn to this book because of the authors, all current influential writers. I didn't know much about the 1915 Women's Suffragette March for the right to vote. The ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Black Women in the Suffrage Movement

Black and white photo of Ida B. WellsA couple of the pieces in Stories from Suffragette City — most notably "American Womanhood" by Dolen Perkins-Valdez — explore the often forgotten reality that Black and other non-white women were explicitly excluded from the movement for women's suffrage in America.

In the late 19th/early 20th centuries, some Black women involved in activism felt an element of tension with regard to their race and gender. Some organizations and individuals fighting for racial equality were not so keen on advancing the rights of women, while some women's suffrage organizations were dismissive of the fight for racial equality. The American Equal Rights Association was formed in 1866 to "secure Equal Rights to all American citizens" by ...

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