Cover Image: Mercy Street

Mercy Street

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Member Reviews

For many women, the clinic on Mercy Street is their last chance. They go to Mercy Street to take care of things they could not get taken care of anywhere else. In the heart of Boston, Mercy Street has to deal with the zealots who believe that the care they provide is morally wrong. Claudia has been a counselor at Mercy Street for ten years and has heard it all. Being in a constant state of crisis has taken its toll. Only Timmy, her pot dealer, can provide her with the relief she needs in order to keep doing it. Timmy attracts an interesting cast of characters who prove to have more in common than just his pot. What will happen if these worlds collide?

Jennifer Haigh has an incredible talent for weaving a superb tale. Like many of her novels, Mercy Street examines a topic that many consider controversial. A women's health clinic in the heart of Boston provides an interesting setting. While Claudia may seem like the main character, the author tells the story from all angles in the form of interesting narrators. Some narrators prove to be in direct conflict with Claudia and those at Mercy Street. Being a devoted reader of thrillers, I kept expecting some sort of violent twist. Instead, I got a gripping story I couldn't put down.

Bottom Line - Mercy Street wasn't a fast-paced thriller or a light-hearted romance, but it was so gripping I didn't want it to end. 

Mercy Street by Jennifer Haigh
Pages: 352
Publisher: Ecco
Publication Date: 2/1/2022
Buy it here! 
Thank you to NetGalley!
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Focusing on an abortion clinic in Boston, this book may be the last written before the Supreme Court takes up the issue most likely placing the control of women’s bodies in the hands of state lawmakers. 
Its not an uplifting book. Claudia is a counselor and the reader follows what is often a monotonous day fielding calls from women. She daily battles her way past protestors to get into the office. And most importantly, Haight, through the eyes of Claudia, show how the impact is most felt by the poor women with few options. Readers are also introduced to a couple of pro-life activists who spend most of their time online. While the story heads to a confrontation between the two, it is not the confrontation the reader might expect. Narration is excellent
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Claudia works tirelessly as a counselor at at Boston women’s health clinic; advising patients on all topics. But for those outside the building’s entrance on Mercy Street, the pro-life protestors only care about the horrific and unspeakable acts happening inside. With a “ripped-from-the-headlines” approach, we see the same story unfolding from the point of view of the clinician, her drug dealer, the protestor, and the zealot, making this novel is a true nail-biter. Read-alike: THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP by John Irving.
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Jennifer Haigh tells a story that is complex and rich with detail on a subject that is at the center of much discourse in our country. It's set in a women's clinic in Boston, and takes you into the lives of people who work there and use its services, as well as those who protest them. The main character is Claudia, who counsels patients at the clinic on Mercy Street. Haigh tells not only her story, but the overlapping ones of people she meets - which are sometimes just a few degrees of separation, known only to the reader. It's a sometimes heavy story, but Haigh tackles the subject directly in a dense book that's more than worth the read.
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Mercy Street by Jennifer Haigh is well narrated and makes for a really riveting audiobook. The narrator does an excellent job of varying her voices to make for a pleasurable listening experience. Claudia has worked at a women's health clinic in Boston for a decade. She counsels patients who come in for health needs. She also has a pot dealer who befriends her. Through her dealer, she comes to know various people in her city. Their lives become entwined in interesting ways. Set during the massive snowfalls in 2015, the setting of the book just added even more to the story. Read and enjoy!
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This book is not going to be for everyone but I absolutely LOVED it!! I loved that the author shines  light on an unassuming woman who works at an abortion clinic in Boston and the stress and anxiety her work puts her under as anti-abortion protesters grow more and more vocal and threatening. 

Highly recommended for fans of Margaret Atwood. Great on audio narrated by Stacey Glemboski. A new to me author and narrator I couldn't put this story down. It could have been ripped from the headlines of any American newspaper but definitely does a good job setting the scene in Boston. Undoubtedly this will be a controversial read but also a much needed one to expand people's understanding of the importance of women's reproductive rights. Much thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my ALC!

CW: abortion
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3.5 Haigh is an author who doesn't shy away from controversial subjects, tackling those that often make front page news. She has tackled fracking in her [book:Heat & Light|24584923], the Catholic church and all the abuse allegation, in [book:Faith|9592213]. In this book she takes on the polarizing, decisive subject of abortion. Centered around a women's health clinic that also provides abortion, a clinic located in Boston on Mercy street. She attempts to provide the reader insights as to the different sides of this serious subject. Using four characters, one a woman named Claudia, early forties, works at the clinic as a counselor, and three men Vincent, Anthony and Timmy. These characters I'll interact with each other in various ways, their backstories told.

I wanted to like these characters more than I did, but the only one I felt a connection with was Claudia. The others were, in my opinion, not very likable, relatable. It does show the extremes people are liking to go for something in which they believe strongly and how dangerous it can be to work at one of these clinics in these times. It's a good solid read and I give the author kudos for not shying away from this subject, but it isn't my favorite of hers. 

ARC from Edelweiss.
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I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve read almost every book from this author. I enjoy her writing style so much. She really has a way of making her characters so real and relatable. She made it easy to see and understand all the points of view, even if you didn’t quite agree with what they were thinking. 

The narrator was really good and brought the characters to life.
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Timely and powerful. Haigh always writes characters with great depth, and they pull the reader into that world no matter how different. You feel for them and there is much to discuss for book clubs. I love her work
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I received an advanced reading copy of this novel at no cost to me via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Jennifer Haigh has a knack for taking a hot button subject and presenting it through the lens of multiple characters who, like them or not, are developed with skill and complexity. With Mercy Street, she has done it again. I highly recommend this novel. Also, the audiobook is excellent.
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4.5 rounded up

This is a story of self-growth, finding what is important in life, and the struggles of adulting. Claudia, the main character, is messy and complex, in other words human. She works in a women's health clinic and faces anti-abortion protesters as she comes and goes to work on a daily basis. The story is one for the times in which there are severe differences of social/political/religious thoughts and beliefs. Glemboski's narration was brilliant and added to the experience of the story and book. Thank you NetGalley, and HarperAudio for this ALC.
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Given current events (looking at you, Texas) and the political climate, this book feels timely and desperately necessary. Claudia and all the women in this novel are presented so realistically, their stories heart-wrenching and compelling.
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I think this book had so much promise. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it was only from Claudia's point of view. And it kind of fell off near the end.
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