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September 2020

Slob by Ellen Potter

07th September 2009

It starts out as a simple story.  Owen is being bullied at school because of his weight, and can’t figure out how to make it stop.  Just when you think you’ve got the story all figured out, Potter gradually begins revealing little tidbits about Owen’s life, and her novel becomes something else altogether.  This was an excellent book.  It took me by surprise at every turn, and left me completely satisfied at the end.

If you’re looking for something unique from Grisham, this is not your book.  If you love his classic formula of slightly corrupt main character, little guy against big evil corporation, a few twists and turns, and lots of lawyers, you won’t be disappointed.

Haddix is a talented author, who has written many excellent books.  My favorite is her Cinderella tale, Just EllaUprising is also an excellent book.  Bella, Yetta and Jane become friends in spite of their differences.  Bella and Yetta are immigrants from different countries, working at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory, and Jane is the daughter of a wealthy New York factory owner.  But when fire sweeps through the factory, the girls’ lives are changed forever.  It was hard for me to get into this book at first, not because of poor writing, but because of the dreadful lives that Bella and Yetta were living.  Their situation seemed so hopeless, I almost didn’t want to read on.  But I did, and I’m so glad I stuck with it.  In spite of the tragic fire, Uprising is a story of hope, forgiveness, perseverance and change.

Rose Nolan and her family immigrate to the United States in 1911. But before the family is allowed to leave Ellis Island, her father is sent back to Ireland with her sick brother. Rose, her mother and 2 younger sisters go to stay in New York with her uncle, but her mother soon tires of waiting for her father, and returns home. However, in spite of the difficulties, Rose and her sister Maureen are enamored with the new country and decide to stay and fend for themselves.

Rose soon finds work at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. She makes friends, enjoys her work and the pay, and is content with her new life. But when a deadly fire rips through the factory, Rose is challenged more than she ever thought possible.

I really enjoyed this book, in spite of the dread that was hanging over me while I waited for the fire to happen. The book definitely portrays sympathy for worker’s unions. Given the conditions that Rose worked in, you can see why unions were so necessary. In spite of my disagreements with much of what unions do today, I do appreciate the contributions they have made to this country, and Auch does a good job of illustrating some of these in her book.

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