Thursday, March 5, 2009


Anderson, Laurie Halse. 2008. Chains. Narrated by Madison Leigh. Brilliance Audio.
(Running time: about 7.5 hours)

This highly-acclaimed novel by award winning author, Laurie Halse Anderson, is an interesting juxtaposition of America's fight for independence and freedom from British rule, against its simultaneous enslavement of African people. While this obvious contradiction may have gone unnoticed by American colonists, it becomes a harsh and perplexing reality for Isabelle, a young slave girl faced with a never-ending stream of tribulations.

Stolen out of freedom, she and her sister are sold to a loyalist New York couple during the start of the Revolutionary War. At first struggling to choose sides, loyalist or patriot, Isabelle comes to the conclusion that her fate is not tied to that of the Revolution. Her chains are not the chains of America.

Although the plot is sometimes contrived, Madison's Leigh's reading of Chains is compelling, and at times moving, to the point of tears. An excellent and fast-paced historical fiction novel, suitable for middle-schoolers.

Chains was chosen as a 2008 National Book Award finalist for Young People's Literature.

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