Saturday, October 25, 2014

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

I loved this book. Loved. This. Book. Go out, right now, and somehow get this book in your hands because it's phenomenal. I couldn't put it down and am ready to read the next book, Forge, as Chains ended with a cliff hanger!

Chains is about a young girl, Isabella, who is a slave during the Revolutionary War. I've read about slavery during the Civil War, so this intrigued me. Right in the beginning, she is being sent/sold to a new household. You can read about the plot on Laurie Halse Anderson's website. See those awards on the book cover? They are there for a reason. It's an excellent excellent book.

What I want to share is why I found myself crying on the treadmill at the gym as I read Chains. I fell so in love with Isabella. I've always been drawn to books that held these themes and plots. In fact, if I had not gone the English teaching route, I would have just done English with African American Lit emphasis. But Isabella spoke to me in a way that other characters haven't yet. And I think it's because of my own family. I couldn't help but imagine Callie during some of these scenes. No, luckily she was not born during slavery. But I think of her family history. Chances are extremely high that slavery was a part of her biological line. And that breaks my heart, deeply. I thought of Callie being treated in some of the ways Isabella was and it made me weep. Isabella also has a sister, Ruth, who she tries to watch over...the best she can anyway while she's doing all her work. We find that Ruth has epilepsy and the seizures hit randomly. And I thought of Sammy, naturally. Just as Isabella is the protector of her sister, Callie is the same for Sammy in many ways. And the book became very personal.

It is so well written. Anderson shares a fantastic story while introducing beautiful characters. I loved it. I may just have to buy this book to have on our bookshelves.

Read it. Have your children read it. Then talk about it together.

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