In all honesty, this is a book I would have NEVER have read on my own. Books I usually gravitate to are set in a fictional world, giving me an escape from reality. I was given the opportunity (after reading the first few chapters) on whether I wanted to give this book a chance. I do not recall the last time I voluntarily read a book that incorporated historically real incidents and figures, so I decided to give this a chance.
Initially I was put off by the whole time traveling concept. I mentally associate that with historical fiction that only focuses primarily (from similar novel settings) on Caucasus history. For the first few chapters it felt different because the "past" the author referred to was 1992-93 (my favorite era/year before and when I was born). So I decided to give it a chance and see how far I would get through it.
I was happy Newitz DID include people of color as they traveled through time and did not just make them background characters playing menial roles. Faced with discrimination that we deal with (still to this day unfortunately) with ignorant folk. Along with incorporating people of colored with being involved/supporting the time traveling group known as The Daughters of Tubman (homage to Harriet Tubman) that helped fight for change in supporting women rights.
This book was emotionally draining. I kept putting off finishing this book and when I buckled down to finish it, I had a headache. It covered so many issues that we're dealing with today: men trying to take rights away from women and wanting to control their rights to abortions/who can reproduce. I was Fully triggered and disgusted.
There were a lot of intense scenarios that might be too much for some people to read. Especially with my hyperactive imagination, I, myself, struggled with reading scenes of: molestation, multiple murders, sexual harassment/harassment, suicide, mentally & physical abuse, abortions (character describing the process while she undergoes it) and hate crimes.
What's interesting is that characters, movements, throughout are not all fictional. Take the a-hole antagonist Anthony Comstock, who really was with the U.S. postal service where his job was to open mail and hunt for obscene materials. His focus was gathering info about contraception and abortion, which courts saw as obscene and make it illegal. I am completely repulsed he truly did brag in public speeches that his work had driven many women to suicide.
Overall, though this was a difficult book to push through, it was well written. It flowed well from different time eras and people's perspectives. There were breaks from the intense scenarios I previously listed. It never went fully off track and stuck to the story: The Daughters of Harriet stopping the Comstocker group from corrupting history to be more in favor to men and their needs. One character we follow the majority of the story deals with both this and trying to stop her past self and her friends of avoiding a major mistake that still haunts her.