One Glorious Ambition
By Jane Kirkpatrick
One Glorious Ambition is the novelized account of the life of Dorthea Dix. Dorthea Dix spent her early years helping her younger brothers and herself survive a life of poverty and an abusive father. Dorthea’s mother suffered a mental illness that rendered her unable to care for her children. As a young lady, she was sent away to be raised by her well-to-do family members. She was expected to marry when she came of age, but her passion for teaching was her only interest. She ran several schools from the time she was a teenager into her early twenties. When she closed her schools, she spent much time traveling and attempting to recover from a long-standing illness. Just before she turned 40, she visited a jail and saw the terrible conditions there. She was concerned that the prisoners were all thrown in together, those who committed petty crimes in the same cell as murderers. Miss Dix also found that the mentally ill were often imprisoned with these same offenders because there was no other public institution in which to house or treat them. Prison reform and treatment institutions for the mentally ill became her “one glorious ambition” as she spent the rest of her days travelling through different states researching and lobbying for change. Her goals were never realized on a national level, but she saw great change in several states in her lifetime.
This was an excellent book about the life of Dorthea Dix. I had heard of her before, but never knew much about her life. I’ll be the first to tell you that non-fiction is not my forte, but when the author put this biography in story form, it became a pleasure to read. As Dorthea’s story progressed I found it hard to stop reading for want of knowing, “What happens next?” Mis Dix should be an inspiration to men and women to make a difference where we are with what we have. Overall I give this book an A: a great read about a woman who set out to make a difference and accomplished long lasting reform.
I received a free ebook from the publisher through www.bloggingforbooks.com in exchange for my honest review.