Jennifer's Reviews > Chains

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
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Dec 03, 08

bookshelves: nationalbookhonor, historicalfiction, kids, strongfemalecharacters, youngadult, survival, scottodellaward, caudill2011, sljbob2009
Read in December, 2008, read count: 1

How many times can one person be betrayed? Within the pages of Chains, Isabel finds out. It is 1776 and the American people have begun their long fight for freedom just as Isabel begins the fight for hers - for Isabel is a slave. Meant to be freed on the death of her Rhode Island owner, Isabel and her epileptic younger sister Ruth are instead unscrupulously sold by their previous owner's nephew to Loyalists, the Locktons from New York. At first, Isabel thinks they'll be able to get by with the Locktons by working hard, but soon her nightmare begins as she learns Mrs. Lockton is both petty and vicious. When Ruth's epilepsy is revealed to a horrified Mrs. Lockton, Isabel knows that she must find a way to freedom before Ruth is sold away from her. But who can Isabel turn to when those who fight for freedom uphold slavery? A sequel is in the works and fans of historical fiction won't want to wait to find out what happens next to Isabel in this look at the American Revolution from a brand new point of view.

Anderson includes a question and answer section at the back to address the historical aspects of her novel, particularly the plight of slaves and prisoners during the war. She does a fantastic job of capturing Isabel's spurts of hopelessness and her slow recovery - set back everytime yet another avenue of escape fails her. The characters are so rounded that they just jump off the pages - everyone is realistically flawed in ways that match their motivations. This would be great as a book discussion title or as a supplement to lessons on the American Revolution.
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11/25/2008 page 36
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