Uprising, by Margaret Peterson Haddix, made me feel a little bad for supporting Barack over Hillary. After reading about the fight that women put up to have any say in their lives, it seemed so amazing that we’d had a woman as a possible presidential candidate. Not that I didn’t understand that before, but this book put me right in the time when women’s choices were stunningly limited.
Uprising is about more than the Triangle fire of 1911 starting further back with the shirtwaist workers’ strike and the stories of three women. Bella is a new immigrant from Italy who goes to work in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory and struggles in this strange, new country. Yetta is a Russian Jew who has her sister to help her and to inspire her to fight for her rights as a worker. Jane is a society girl who crosses paths with the other girls during the strike and begins to question her own freedom as a woman in a man’s world.
The novel is elegantly done where the history is seamlessly woven into the story. The difficult lives of the girls tug at the emotions and the well-researched facts educate and illuminate. With a fire as the dramatic endpoint, you know this book can’t end happily for everyone. Kudos to Haddix for making it unpredictable along the way, beginning with the identity of the woman who starts the story as a reflection on the past. A truly unforgettable book.