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Charity Girl by Michael Lowenthal
With Charity Girl, author Michael Lowenthal uses the novel to highlight the government's abuse of power during World War I to incarcerate women, called charity girls, it suspected of having a venereal disease or questionable moral character. It claimed it was necessary to protect the soldiers from catching the diseases, despite the fact they often were the ones passing it on to women. In Charity Girl, 17-year-old Frieda Mintz works at a Boston department store and enjoys visiting the dance halls in the evenings for male companionship. She meets and falls for a soldier, Felix Morse, the son of a prominent family. When Felix is diagnosed with syphilis, he gives the government Frieda's name. Not only does she lose her job, but she's forced into a concentration camp with other charity girls. There she's subjected to questionable medical tests and abuse, with no legal recourse or way to win her freedom. Charity Girl has received positive reviews with the Washington Post saying, "That few readers of Lowenthal's deserving novel will ever have heard of the detention of the 'charity girls' is astonishing. That Lowenthal has made us aware of them is nothing short of a gift."