I had wanted to read this for ages and so when the Covid19 lockdown began I figured I could both support a small book shop and read a book that has been on my wish list for a while. I ordered this copy from Print Point in Rothesay (if you ever visit the island then you really should pop in and have a look, a fab wee book store!)
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book as I’ve read lots of books based on the Ripper story and the first thing I’d say for readers is that it is not fiction, it is very much a factually based tale, so it does read like a nonfiction book, just in case anyone is buying this looking for a fictional read.
I was drawn to this book due to the fact that it gives a voice back to the women brutally murdered by Jack the Ripper in the 1800s. It tells their stories, gives an account of their lives and debunks some of the assumptions made about these women. Mary Ann -Polly- Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine- Kate- Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly were all daughters, sisters, aunties, mothers, wives, partners and friends. Each was an individual. Each of them were born with a disadvantage in the 1800s, they were women and they were from the working class and as such their rights, lives and choices were dictated by the culture and the double standards of the day.
The work the author has put into researching this book is phenomenal and makes it ideal for students as well as those reading for pleasure.
The stories of the women were heart breaking and it wasn’t difficult to see where some of the double standards that still exist today come from. The Ripper or his methods of murder were not covered in any great detail and that is exactly the way this book should be written. It is a story that will open the reader’s eyes to not only the position of women in the Victorian era but also the lives of those living in poverty.
Hard hitting; stark and five stories that had to be told. Five women who deserve to be remembered as people, as individuals and human beings.
Five Stories is available to purchase from all good bookstores and online.