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The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper – Hallie Rubenhold

This book is a true story of 5 women who were killed by Jack the Ripper in Victorian London. The newspaper has advocated the fact that Jack preyed only on prostitutes and somehow these five women were mapped to be prostitute, whereas as explored by the author only one of them is professionally involved in this trade.

The author has done a phenomenal job in bringing out the dark and misogynist side of the Victorian period, as opposed to what we encounter in other writing of those times, like Austen and Dickens which paints such a lovely picture. Knowing the other side of the coin where the same world is suffering from poverty, unemployment, homelessness, misogynism was such an eye-opening experience.

My experience

Now, when I heard and read people’s reviews about this book, I got to know that Jack the Ripper is quite a known murderer and people do dress up as him on Halloween but being a non-English person I heard his name the first time reading this book. But I guess reading this book I understand why the author has gone to this extent to research these five women.

In that time which has such a deep root in misogynism, where the only role women have to play is to support the men in her family and without them, their existence befell to being called a fallen woman and live a life of poverty and hunger, the idea that Jack the ripper is killing prostitutes must have established a kind of moral conduct at that time. And hence the author asks us to stop celebrating this murderer because by doing that we are enforcing the notion that bad women deserve punishment and prostitutes are subspecies of females.

I picked this book as part #RubyReads bookclub March reading. Even though I understand the intention and totally support the message behind this book, somehow true crime genre does not hold that much appeal to me and being a non-English person I wasn’t able to relate that much to the book. So, even though I like the book, I didn’t fell in love with this book and hence deducting a star.

Let me know in comments about your thoughts if you have read the book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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