Friday, December 11, 2009


Anderson, Laurie Halse. Chains. Simon & Schuster, 2008.

Plot Summary
Sal is a slave that instead of being freed upon her master's death, is sold to Mr. and Mrs. Lockton, British Loyalists during the American Revolution. Sal and her sister Ruth are house servants until Madam Lockton decides to sell Ruth. This drives Sal to try an escape which leads to a branding on her face. Sal ends up helping both the British and the Americans be becoming a messenger. She is now looking out for herself.

My Thoughts
I enjoyed the story but felt that some of the situations Sal found herself in were possibly revisionist history. Would a Captain actually pass a top secret note to a slave girl? Would a slave be able to walk through the city without questions? Would the dying Lady Seymour really agree to Sal's plan? However, the questions of accuracy do not overshadow the narrative.

I liked that Anderson created an historical fiction book that takes place during the American Revolution. As I've visited some of the places mentioned, I felt the realness of the war. Anderson also included a "Q & A" section at the end of the book. I'm not sure who is asking these questions.

By reading this book, I was able to step back in time to shatter some misconceptions that many have about the issue of slavery and the dividing lines between the North and South that would surface in a war almost one hundred years later.

I was a little mad at the ending of the book, though. I don't want to spoil it here. I will just read more of Laurie Halse Anderson's works.

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