Monday, July 27, 2009

Chains: Laurie Halse Anderson

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Chains. Simon and Schuster 2008 978—4169-0585-1 16.99

Isabelle and Ruth were told that when Mistress Finch died they would be given their freedom. It was written in the will. Mistress Finch’s greedy nephew denies that will was ever written and sells them to the Lockton’s, Torries who are returning to New York to work against the Patriots. Isabelle is desperate to protect her young sister who is “simple” and after Ruth is sold away from her by the Lockton’s she is convinced by another young slave, Curzon, to spy on the Lockton’s. In the end though, the questions raised by the book have more to do with who is to be free in this new nation and what Isabelle is willing to risk to be free herself.

This is a powerful book in many ways. I think the point of view on the revolutionary period is different than any other fiction I have read about the period. The colonists are people, not caricatures, with all the kindness and cruelty that exists in the human race. Isabelle is a character to make you cheer and cry and her ultimate decision reveals the power of love and the strength of the human spirit. While the book is appropriate for upper elementary and MS it also offers wonderful discussion points about the revolution for HS.

Also check out Terri Lesesne's Review on her Goddess of YA Literature Blog

Review by Ann Morgester Library Curriculum Coordinator, Anchorage School District

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