Tuesday, March 28, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: AUDACITY BY MELANIE CROWDER

Title: Audacity
Author: Melanie Crowder

Genre: Historical Fiction, Novels Written in Verse

Series: Stand Alone

Book Summary:(via Goodreads) A gorgeously told novel in verse written with intimacy and power, Audacity is inspired by the real-life story of Clara Lemlich, a spirited young woman who emigrated from Russia to New York at the turn of the twentieth century and fought tenaciously for equal rights. Bucking the norms of both her traditional Jewish family and societal conventions, Clara refuses to accept substandard working conditions in the factories on Manhattan's Lower East Side. For years, Clara devotes herself to the labor fight, speaking up for those who suffer in silence. In time, Clara convinces the women in the factories to strike, organize, and unionize, culminating in the famous Uprising of the 20,000. 
Powerful, breathtaking, and inspiring, Audacity is the story of a remarkable young woman, whose passion and selfless devotion to her cause changed the world.

Characters: Clara, Mama, Papa, Marcus, Nathan, Benjamin, Pauline, Joe

What I Loved: I loved loved LOVED this book. I'm not, generally, a fan of fiction written in verse, but this was executed perfectly. The writing was eloquent without straining the flow of the story. It truly felt as though you were inside Clara's thoughts. I have been on an historical fiction kick lately, having loved The Salt of the Sea and Orphan Train. This book was also on the book list for our academic reading team, and a lot of my students (both girls and boys) raved about this one.
It is also obvious that Melanie Crowder thoroughly researched her subject matter, the time period, and Clara Lemlich's life. The text is so rich that, when Clara is describing walking the street of New York, I could hear, smell, and see the city around her.
I also picked up this book because, having recently read A Handmaid's Tale and How to be a Woman for a feminist book club that Janine and I both belong to, I have been looking for something about women in American history. I think if a historical fiction novel is well-written, it makes the reader want to read more about it's time period, it's characters, and it's true story. Audacity certainly accomplished that.

What I could have done without: There isn't much I can find to be critical of in this novel. I didn't give it five stars on Goodreads because I only give 5 Goodreads stars to books that I consider "great literature"--books that affect me profoundly and which will resonate with me. Still, as young adult literature, I consider this great writing. The thing that frustrated me, and I think this is a result of the verse writing, is that I didn't feel as though I grew to know the other characters very well. Clara's family, Joe, Pauline--they all seemed rather two-dimensional.


Final Grade: A-

Review by Nicky

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