Saturday, November 12, 2016

Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson

  • THE BOOK
    • Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson
    • Published August 2, 2011
    • Second book in the Seeds of America trilogy
      • See book 1 entry, Chains, here.

  • THE PREMISE
    • The first book took palce in New York City beginning in 1776 and is narrated by Isabel, a 13-year-old slave girl, owned by Tories, those loyal to the King of England. She becomes friends with a boy named Curzon, who is 15 and also a slave but to a man on the side of the rebellion.
      • Curzon is imprisoned with the rebel soldiers after the loyalists retake New York City. Isabel saves Curzon's life and also gets him out of jail so both can escape to New Jersey across the river.
    • This book is told from Curzon's point of view as this book takes place about 9 months after the first one. Isabel has run off to search for her missing sister and Curzon has joined the rebel army. He ends up at Valley Forge when conditions were at their worst.
    • Then his owner shows up one day in the spring, sees Curzon and re-enslaves him.

  • MY THOUGHTS
    • I remarked in my entry for Chains that these books, despite their Young Adult status, came out too far apart.
      • It turns out that the author was caretaker of her mother before she died, and then the author herself got sick for over a year. By the time that she was on the mend she needed to take care of her dad before he died. So sad.
      • This is why the 3rd book came out over 5 years later. 
    • In this book you learn about the conditions at Valley Forge. The main characters are fictional but they interact with real people.
      • Curzon meets a Dutch-speaking slave couple named the Baumfrees. They would eventually have a daughter named Belle who grew up to be Sojourner Truth, a former slave and abolitionist activist.
    • For a while the only food was a "cake" made with flour and water cooked on a hot stone. That's it. Meanwhile the men still needed to chop down trees and build the cabins, among other duties. Their clothes and shoes were rags or non-existent.
      • Curzon makes friends among the soldiers in his unit and one bad enemy.
    • SPOILERS: Curzon's former master refuses to honor their original agreement and re-enslaves him and you get to see that side of the story too. Isabel shows up too, having not gotten far when she ran away from Curzon.
    • I am looking forward to the conclusion of the story in the final book, Ashes, which I just picked up from the library.
    • Recommended for American history buffs and readers who enjoy Young Adult series.

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