Necessary lies may not be great literary fiction but it is grounded in historical fact about the eugenics program in it documents the hardscrabble life of the harts and jordans two families whose children labor in the tobacco fields in exchange for a roof over their heads. Necessary lies is of a young newly married social worker who against her husbands wishes works with families that are uneducated white and non white and not of the proper societal standards. The characters in necessary lies are fictional but the eugenics sterilization program is very real according to the authors note north carolina sterilized over 7000 of its citizens north carolina is the only state that gave social workers the power to petition for sterilization of individuals. Necessary lies diane chamberlain 2013 st martins press 384 pp isbn 13 978 1250054517 summary a small southern town fifty years ago and the darkest and most hopeful places in the human heart
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