Melanie Crowder
The inspiring story of Clara Lemlich, whose fight for equal rights led to the largest strike by women in American history A gorgeously told novel in verse written with intimacy and power, Audacity is inspired by the real-life story of Clara Lemlich, a spirited young woman who emigrated from Russia to New York at the turn of the twentieth century and fought tenaciously for equal rights. Bucking the norms of both her traditional Jewish family and societal conventions, Clara refuses to accept substandard working conditions in the factories on Manhattan's Lower East Side. For years, Clara devotes herself to the labor fight, speaking up for those who suffer in silence. In time, Clara convinces the women in the factories to strike, organize, and unionize, culminating in the famous Uprising of the 20,000.  Powerful, breathtaking, and inspiring, Audacity is the story of a remarkable young woman, whose passion and selfless devotion to her cause changed the world.  


Reviewed: 2016-10-16

This story written in verse, based on actual events at the turn of the century in New York City, is both unique and inspiring.  The heroine, Clara Lemlich, is easily relatable to young adults who are struggling to assert themselves, and especially to those who are dissatisfied with current educational or employment restrictions.  Clara struggles to balance family and traditional obligations with her own desires and her growing sense of civic responsibility and moral outrage.  Although some students may balk at the idea of a story told completely in verse, it is extremely easy to read, written in free verse that reads like prose.  However, it could easily be used as part of a poetry unit as it contains excellent examples of literary devices like imagry, alliteration, metaphor, and symbolism.  There are a number of themes in "Audacity", including perseverence, tradition vs. modernization, human rights, civic responsibility, self-sacrifice, discrimination, and activism.  It is probably better suited for high school students than middle schoolers; it is not a challenging read, but the history and some of the themes are complex.  I would recommend this book to students with a particular interest in politics, civics, or history.

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