Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

This book is historical fiction, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. Isabel and her sister, Ruth, are slaves during the years right before the Revolutionary War. Even though their master's will gave them their freedom when he died, they are sold to a couple living in New York who are loyal to the King of England. Life is hard for the two children, but Isabel's life is complicated further when she's asked by the patriots to spy on her masters. Spying is dangerous, because her masters could have her killed. As the plot unfolds, the woman of the house sells Ruth, so Isabel tries to run away. She's caught, put on trial, and has the letter "I" burned into her cheek as punishment. Finally, the Revolutionary War begins as the British overtake New York. Isabel continues to spy on her masters, but she also takes food and messages to prisoners of war. Isabel's master discovers what she's doing, beats her, and locks her in a storage room. Isabel decides she must do something or she'll never get her freedom.

Most stories about slavery usually take place during the Civil War, so the setting of this book is unique. It's interesting to see this story told from a slave's point of view, because the slaves weren't sure if the British or Americans were the good guys. The Americans were fighting for their freedom, but not for the freedom of slaves. The British promised the slaves freedom, but rumor had it that the "freed" slaves were forced to work in Canadian coal mines. Isabel just wanted the freedom she deserved and be reunited with her sister. There is a sequel to this book called Forge.

Lexile level from 780

1 comment:

  1. Imagine doing nothing but chores all day, everyday. This is the life of Isabel Gardener, the main character in the book Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson, which took place in Rhode Island and New York in the 1700s. The story of Isabel and her sister Ruth is rather interesting. They were born in their original plantation, but soon after Ruth was born they were sold to another master, who was very nice and taught Isabel how to read, while it was very rare for a slave to know how to read.


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