Friday, January 30, 2009

Book Review: Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

Chainstells the story of Isabel and her sister Ruth, two sisters who are about to be freed from slavery. But, by an unforeseen mischance, they are sold and sent to New York City, during the tumultuous year 1776. There, they live with their cruel new masters, the Locktons, who are quite loyal to the king. When a rebel slave enlists her help by spying on her masters, she at first refuses, but decides her and Ruth's freedom is worth any risk. However, her reward ends up not being what she hoped.

Wow. This book was heart-wrenching and extremely difficult to read. Not because of any obtuse language or lack of interest, but because the subject of the book pulls at the heartstrings. Isabel's life seems to be one cruel event after another, followed by more painful twists of fate. I felt like crying and yelling at different times. A book that evokes those kinds of emotions is not to be forgotten soon. Having read Octavian Nothing (reviews here and here) recently, I've been thinking more about slavery during the Revolutionary War. The founding fathers noble ideas of equality and freedom for all do start to sound a little false in light of some of their treatment and notions of slaves. A book definitely meant to inspire thought and discussion. And beautifully written. Go read it, as soon as you can!

s-factor: none.

mrg-factor: none.

v-factor: ->->

Cruelty to slaves and prisoners.

Overall rating: *****


  1. I loved this book! I can't wait to read Wintergirls. She's a new favorite author of mine.

  2. I haven't heard of Wintergirls yet, but I also enjoyed Speak and Fever, 1793. She's writes great stuff!


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