Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix

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Simon & Schuster Books

September 25, 2007

Uprising follows the lives of three young woman in 1910-1911 whose lives intertwine forever because of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. I knew a little bit about this tragedy from school, but I loved that Peterson Haddix was able to create this realistic world and put us right next to the people involved.

Each of the three girls in the book, Bella and Yetta and Jane, each are completely different people and personalities who form an unlikely bond. I love how we were able to take a peek into early 20th Century life for woman in different social standings. Readers are able to see the struggles that immigrants faced when coming to New York City and also the expectations put on those in high society standings.

I love how fierce and sure Yetta was and how she held fast to the things she believed in. Even when other’s around her lost faith she kept fighting for something she thought was right. Being a young woman in that time period it took a lot of guts for her to be able to stand up so loudly and fight for women’s rights and unions.

Bella is probably my favorite of the three girls (but shh don’t tell Yetta or Jane) because she struggles so much throughout the book but she keeps going. She is newly arrived from Italy when her story begins and she doesn’t speak English yet. She is able to hold a job and adapt to her surroundings. I also loved seeing her story because it shows more of her living situation in the book and I felt like that was a real eye opener.

Jane’s father has made a lot of money and prior to the book she spent most of her time with other young society women. When she begins to lose interest in their conversations she discovers the strike and is introduced to a whole new world.

All three of their lives intertwine and weave together to tell a very real story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory disaster. I love that many of the details were true and not fiction. I love that this book will introduce what happened to so many people on a deeper level than what history class can teach us.

For lovers of historical fiction I would recommend this book!