Thursday, October 21, 2010
A Review of Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires
Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires
Author: Molly Roe
Illustrator: John Garrett Slaby
YA Historical Fiction
ISBN: 978-0-9814619-3-9 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-0-9814619-5-3 (hardcover)
Also available in Ebook, Kindle, iPad, and Nook
Coming of age amidst the seething unrest of the Civil War era, feisty fourteen-year-old Katie McCafferty infiltrates the Molly Maguires, a secret Irish organization, to rescue a lifelong friend. Under the guise of Dominick, a draft resister, Katie volunteers for a dangerous mission in hopes of preventing bloodshed. Katie risks job, family, and ultimately her very life to intervene. A series of tragedies challenges Katie's strength and ingenuity, and she faces a crisis of conscience. Can she balance her sense of justice with the law?
Through 14-year-old Catharine (Katie) Agnes McCafferty, we learn about the everyday life and struggles of Irish immigrant families living in a Pennsylvania coalmine town called "The Patch." This is at the beginning of the Civil War in 1861. We learn how dangerous it was to be a coalminer and about the unsafe work practices that went on in the mines. We learn that boys, as young as 7 or 8, took jobs as nippers, butties, or breaker boys to work in or around the coalmines. We also learn about the early drafts of the Civil War and how the slogan "rich man's war, poor man's fight" became popular.
When Katie's dad is injured in a cave-in, she leaves school to work as a domestic to help her family pay the rent and other household expenses. Eventually she takes another job working for Mr. Pardee, the wealthy owner of the mine in "The Patch." When she learns how a lifelong friend is mixed up with the Molly Maguires, she decides she must do whatever she can to make sure he is safe.
Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires took me back in time to learn what life was like in a coalmine town during the Civil War. The author did a wonderful job of drawing me into the story and the lives of Katie, her family, friends and neighbors. I wanted to learn more about them and their everyday struggles to survive. This book is not only for YA readers, but also for adults of any age who want to learn more about this time in American history.