Ellen's Reviews > Forge

Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson
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's review
Oct 05, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: 2010-11highschool, 2010-11middleschool, historical-fiction

This companion novel to CHAINS tells the story of Curzon, a fifteen-year-old boy during the American Revolution who gets caught up in the fight and becomes a soldier at Valley Forge in the winter/spring of 1778. Curzon, a former slave, is trying to find freedom and his experiences revolve around his hope for a better life and his feelings for Isabel, a young slave who helped him escape from prison.

This book reads like a primary source from the period with incredible details about the food (The men are starving and eat only firecake--flour and water mixed together and cooked into a substance that is incredibly hard and tastes of ash.) and the horrible living conditions of the soldiers at Valley Forge (Curzon's shoes are stolen and he must work with only socks in the freezing snow.). Superb dialog and period words make the atrocities Curzon experiences vivid.

Overall Curzon's struggle to define what freedom means in the midst of a famous period in history is compelling as it explores the realities of a time period that included slavery, racism, and brutality but also friendship, love, and hope.

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