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Greene County Reads 2019

Join the Greene County libraries in the Greene County Reads Book Discussions!

Greene County Reads Book Discussions:

Discussion leader: Jan Scharingson

April 11, 2019

9:00 am  Churdan Public Library

2:00 pm   Rippey Public Library

7:00 pm  Marchant Memorial Library - Scranton


***Each session will be approximately an hour and a half long.***

***Light Refreshments will be served***


The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman

In 1950s Quebec, Maggie’s English-speaking father has ambitions for his daughter that don’t include marriage to the poor French boy on the next farm over. But Maggie’s heart is captured by Gabriel Phénix. When she becomes pregnant at fifteen, her parents force her to give baby Elodie up for adoption.  Elodie is raised in Quebec’s impoverished orphanage system.  Bright and determined, she withstands abusive treatment at the nuns’ hands, finally earning her freedom at seventeen when she is thrust into an alien world.  Maggie cannot forget the daughter she was forced to abandon, and a chance reconnection with Gabriel spurs a wrenching choice. As time passes, the stories of Maggie and Elodie intertwine but never touch - until Maggie goes in search of her long-lost daughter, and finally reclaims the truth that has been denied them both.

The book also features an historical angle:  Maggie's search to find out what happened to her daughter and Elodie's mistreatment is a tragedy, all the more so because it is based on fact. In the province of Quebec in the early 1950s, there was a dark period when the orphans were declared mentally ill because the government paid the Church more money for wards of hospitals than they paid for orphans. The children's educations stopped abruptly and many of them were shipped off to actual psychiatric hospitals, where they lived with the mentally insane.

Author Joanna Goodman based The Home for Unwanted Girls in part on the story of her mother.   Originally from Montreal, Joanna now lives in Toronto with her family, and is at work on her sixth novel, the follow up to The Home for Unwanted Girls. 


The author will be joining each discussion on Skype!

Please stop in to your local library to sign up for a discussion session.  Books will be checked out on a 7 day loan to allow everyone time to get the book read!  

Greene County Reads is a program funded as a cooperative project by the six public libraries in Greene County (3 libraries host a discussion each year) and the Greene County Board of Supervisors.

This resource is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by State Library of Iowa.