In research for my review of Terry Pratchett's Monstrous Regiment I stumbled across references to "the Magdalene Laundries". From reading the book, I was familiar with the girls of Borogravia who ran away from the "Girls Working School" which of course is where you were sent if you were a "bad girl". Truly a nasty place. I however didn't realize that such things exist today, or did at least not too long ago.
Miramax came out with a movie back in August of 2003 called "The Magdalene Sisters" which I haven't seen, but which is rated R for "Violence/Cruelty, Nudity, Sexual Content, and Language" and it takes place in an Irish Convent in the 1960s. It details the lives of four young "fallen women" who were rejected by their families and sent to the "tender mercies" of the Catholic Church and sentenced to penal servitude for their sins in a horror-ridden place called "The Magdalene Laundries". A fascinating and depressing site created by Mari Steed called The Magdalene Story details a lot more than I wish to go into here, but I am amazed once again by Terry Pratchett, and the depth and detail and heart in his "fictions".
Ah yes, what was that again? Oh yes, "escapist fiction". He said sardonically.
Take care and as always, please write!
Copyright © 2004 by Jerry Wright for Bewildering Stories