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What a Young Wife Ought to Know by Emma F.…
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What a Young Wife Ought to Know (1901)

by Emma F. Angell Drake

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I must say that I am totally impressed by the medical knowledge and respect that was given women over a hundred years ago. This book is valuable from a historical prospective as it blows away many myths concerning the treatment of women, their health, the sex relationship with their husbands, and expectations concerning housework and raising children. Some historians would have you believe that women were mainly considered nothing but maids and breeders but this book will educate you as the the high respect a mother and wife commanded from her family and from her society.

The doctor covers many topics that are valid to a mother even today. The books encourages female education and sex education and instructs parents on how to talk about such matters in a simple language that is valuable knowledge even in this day. The book also touches on polygamy and its sad effects on the marriage relationship. One of the most interesting topics that she discusses is abortion, its demand during the late 1800s and its devastating effects on the women who chose that path. Abortion groups today constantly claim that post-abortion trauma is not a fact but it seems that psychological side effects were well known over 100 years ago.

The only drawback to this doctor was her absolute belief in genetics. She suggests using genetics to help choose a husband, only picking from those that were of the best stock. Genetics was all the rage back then but thankfully, it only had a very short life in educated society. Readers won't be turned off by this topic because the author is always very calm and respectful even as she discusses this strange topic.

Overall, this was a great book, easy to read and so gentle in her language. Readers will love being able to open the window to society more than hundred years ago and understand that we had so much in common. ( )
  molloaggie | Feb 8, 2012 |
This book is quite humorous, one hundred years after it was published. My aunt sent me this book when I came engaged. She knew I would enjoy it since I love old books. Its original purpose was not to be funny, but to be helpful to a young bride. There are still some things in this book that still make sense. (An example is when a women is expecting, she should eat a variety of foods, and not eat too much in the way of dessert. I think this is still good advice.) It is mainly the language that gives me a chuckle here and there: "Thoughtlessly many young wives get into the society drift before they know it, and their best strength is wasted, and they are laying the foundations for a young old age. Nervously overwrought, hysteria comes in with its train of multitudinous ills, and destroys both her comfort and that of the home" (51-2). ( )
  saffron12 | Oct 3, 2008 |
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