A young Englishwoman, Birdie Hart, is forced into prostitution in a Colorado mining camp, but makes her way back to civilization and prosperity. Her story is narrated by a male with an ever-vigilant eye for the erotic detail. His narratives are in contrast to, and interwoven with, passages from Birdie’s diary in which she writes about her struggles, her sad losses, and her spiritual and intellectual growth. Against a backdrop of men behaving badly, it is a prostitute who delivers an uplifting message.
Get Up, Jack! is a short novel in which most of the characters are historical figures, and much of the action is based on historical incidents. The story is set in the period of 1860 to 1920, and offers a picture of life in what was, at the time, one of the largest cities in America—St. Louis.
The historical figures who are characters in the book include: William Marion Reedy, Kate Chopin, Theodore Dreiser, Annie Besant, Augustus Lowell, Amy Lowell, Percival Lowell, O. Henry, Teddy Roosevelt, Alice Roosevelt, Little Egypt, Ota Benga, Henry Adams, Fannie Hurst, Sara Teasdale, Charlotte Eliot (mother of T.S. Eliot).