Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Book that Made Me Weep

I'm a big fan of historical fiction. I would love to write historical...but I know I'm not ready for the time I'd have to put into the research. Not yet. One day. (It takes me long enough to write a book with just minimal check-my-facts research.)

I've read a couple other books by Margaret Peterson Haddix. While most of her books have a supernatural bent, Uprising is about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in New York City on March 25, 1911. It is told from the perspective of three very different girls--friends--one a society girl and two who are immigrants from Russia and Italy. From the beginning you know that only one survives the fire, although you don't know which one. The story is beautiful. The characters are very real, bringing to life the real-life victims of the fire one hundred years ago.

I hadn't heard about the fire until I read this book, but did you know that it was the biggest workplace disaster to happen in NYC before 9-11? Fire standards in the workplace were changed as a result of this tragedy, and it played a big role in the suffrage movement. (There was a huge strike the year before the fire, which the girls of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory participated in and which many wealthy suffrage supporters funded. In fact, the strike takes up a large portion of the book's story.) So it has a pretty incredible part in history.

When I read the end, I cried. Then the next day when I was driving I might have cried some more. They didn't have to die in that fire. Doors were locked. There was an inadequate number of fire escapes because the rich people in that district didn't like the look of them. The fire hose didn't work. The firemen's ladders didn't reach high enough. Their nets weren't strong enough to catch the falling bodies.

I highly recommend this book. I loved it. In fact, I can say this about very few books...but it changed me.


  1. There is another great book about this fire called Triangle by Weber (I think). It is an adult book but very well written.

  2. I'll definitely put this on my list. As I get older, I'm realizing what a baby I am. I cry at commercials for crying out loud. What is wrong with me!? :)

  3. Like you, I love historical fiction and would love to be able to write it one day. Sounds like a great book. My list is growing everyday.

  4. Wow...what a great review. This isn't typically my genre, but I have to give this one a try!

  5. That sounds so heavy. I'm not sure I'm up for something that life-changing right now. Life-changers have to take me by surprise because I avoid them when at all possible.

  6. Okay, I'm already starting to cry just from reading your post about it. I think maybe I should wait to read it until after I am done being pregnant, at least!