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Threads and Flames by Esther Friesner

Threads and Flames

by Esther Friesner

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If you know about the Triangle Shirt Factory Fire, then you know its sad tale. This book presents a less oppressive, and yet even more emotional, look as it told through the eyes of one of the girls working there. ( )
  Nightwing | Jan 27, 2017 |
The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire has inspired several YA novels. They never fail to disappoint. ( )
  EmilyRokicki | Feb 26, 2016 |
This historical novel for young adults tells the important story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, but its telling is often overshadowed by clumsy writing and an ending that feels too good to be true. The story follows Raisa, who leaves her shtetl in Poland to come to America in search of her sister. Raisa struggles to get by in New York City, but she eventually finds work at the Triangle Factory, makes friends, and falls in love. When the factory catches fire with all of its employees locked inside, Raisa escapes. She loses a friend, and her fiance loses his mind, but everything is settled cleanly for the survivors at the end, including Raisa stumbling upon her sister and waking her fiance from his catatonic state in the same paragraph. Seeing the fire through Raisa’s eyes makes the reader sympathetic and elicits compassion for all the immigrants. Friesner tries to shoehorn too much explanation into dialogue and Raisa’s internal monologue, making it awkward and unrealistic. The ending feels too easy, after all the horror that preceded it. Except for Raisa, who feels flat, the characters are vibrant and familiar. This book will appeal to teenagers interested in social justice, and it could accompany classroom lessons on American history. While the novel’s important subjects make it interesting, the writing is awkward and often distracts from the story’s positive attributes. Recommended. Grade 8+. ( )
  kottenbrookk | Dec 3, 2014 |
Friesner was inspired by the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire to write this fictional story about a girl who worked in the factory and escapes he fire. The book begins in a shtetl in Poland where Raisa is suffering from a debilitating fever. When she is well she must quickly travel to America where her sister was mistakenly sent a letter saying Raisa has died. We are taken through her tumultuous trip on the boat and through Ellis Island and frightening experience navigating a large city where she does not speak the language and is not even literate in her own Yiddish. Once she settles Friesner shows the terrible conditions of working in factories at the time and does not pull punches when describing the terrors of the actual fire. The book does not only show tragedies, but the triumphs of Raisa learning English and the family she settles with celebrating their Jewish heritage. The prose is well thought out and the characters are all easy to relate to. The author is clearly passionate about the topic, making the book perfect to give context to a history lesson though its graphic nature makes it best for those fifteen or older. Highly Recommended. ( )
  lcaitday | Nov 30, 2013 |
Threads and Flames should have been terrible. I mean, an immigrant who sews? A factory that catches fire? Not my type of book at all.

To my complete surprise, I was sucked in almost immediately. Raisa is a strong character that you want to root for. Her struggle in coming to America, and trying to make a life for herself while also searching for her sister was just totally enthralling. The story is written in a way that you feel as though you are seeing this new, strange world with Raisa for the very first time.

Threads and Flames shines light on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, an event I'd imagine most people of my generation and younger haven't heard much about. More than the horror of what those workers experienced, it was an educational look at working conditions in the early 1900s.

Raisa's experiences throughout Threads and Flames are highly emotional ones and the feelings really shine through the writing. Beyond being entertained and educated, I was emotionally invested in what happened to Raisa. I felt for her, was scared for her, rejoiced for her and ultimately fell in love with her and this story. Threads and Flames is a novel that will change the way you think about the world. ( )
  TequilaReader | Jul 25, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670012459, Hardcover)

It's 1910, and thirteen-year-old Raisa has just traveled alone from a small Polish shtetl all the way to New York City. It's overwhelming, awe-inspiring, and even dangerous, especially when she discovers that her sister has disappeared and she must now fend for herself. She finds work in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory sewing bodices on the popular shirtwaists. Raisa makes friends and even-dare she admit it?- falls in love. But then 1911 dawns, and one March day a spark ignites in the factory. One of the city's most harrowing tragedies unfolds, and Raisa's life is forever changed. . . .

One hundred years after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, this moving young adult novel gives life to the tragedy and hope of this transformative event in American history.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:45 -0400)

After recovering from typhus, thirteen-year-old Raisa leaves her Polish shtetl for America to join her older sister, and goes to work at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory.

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