Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson

I didn't want to read this book. It sounded too depressing, honestly. However, I am signed up for a writing workshop conference in a few weeks and one of the books they will be discussing is Chains, for the YA portion of the discussion.

I like to escape when I read, but this book is set during the American Revolution and told from the POV of a young female slave. I was unhappy from the start because when her master dies, she knows she is supposed to be freed according to her owner's will, but the paperwork is missing and so she and her little sister end up being given to the next of kin, who are loyalists to Britain.

But I found myself drawn in against my will, almost, and the story really is quite brilliant. The historical facts are woven throughout and reveal both sides of the war from a new perspective to many people. I don't think my history class ever addressed how slaves were treated in the north during the American Revolution, or what rights they had or didn't have. It made me want to read up on that period of history, which is really quite an accomplishment. I cried a lot throughout the book (is it me, or do I seem to say that a lot?)but was happy with the ending.

This would be a fabulous book to use as a way to teach American History in a classroom or for a homeschooling family. Thumbs up.

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