Sunday, October 31, 2010

Call Me Kate - Molly Roe

Summary:  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 challenge Katie's strength and ingenuity, and she faces a crisis of conscience.  Can she balance her sense of justice with the law?  (Summary from book cover and image from  Book given free for review.)

My Review:  I really enjoyed reading Call Me Kate.  It's definitely written for the younger of the YA audience with a strong emphasis on a historical event.  As a young female reader I think I would have thoroughly enjoyed a strong female protagonist related to what I was learning about in school (Civil War era).  It also teaches about an aspect of the Civil War I wasn't as familiar with.  Typically when I have read about the Civil war you learn about the disease, the huge death toll, the war tactics, the generals and the reasoning behind the war: abolishment of slavery.  This book brought to life what the draftees faced up in the North.  I wasn't surprised to learn that immigrants who were not yet citizens were drafted along with citizens, but again this was not something I knew before.  It also brought to life the prejudice and bigotry of the times.  It's sad and yet so true that even today we haven't gotten past our dislike, even hatred of people who aren't like ourselves. 

There is one aspect I'm struggling with.  I'm having a bit of a hard time believing a girl of those times would be quite that stubborn and force her opinion upon the men around her.  It just seems a bit preposterous. This is fiction and I think there must have been some women who were influential in their husband's or the men in their lives thinking.  But, that said, I can't imagine a girl in the 1860's being able to set up her own working environment that would help immigrant women have better working conditions.  A girl probably could have dreamed that (or maybe not), but actually believing it could happen?  I just can't buy that.  Women couldn't vote at that time, therefore it just doesn't ring true.  Therefore Katie's declining her marriage opportunity at the end of the book fell flat in my eyes.  Not that I want or expect every woman to settle down and marry the man available and offering.  It just doesn't fit with those times and what was expected of women.

Overall, it was a fun read, full of interesting information of those times, and I learned quite a bit about the customs and traditions that shape our nation today.

Rating: 4 stars--couldn't hold a 5 star rating because it didn't hold me to its pages like a hostage, but it was a good read.

Sum it up: A courageous (if somewhat unbelievable) story about a heroine following her conscience to save a childhood friend.

1 comment:

Tribute Books said...

Kari - thanks for your honest review and for wrapping up CALL ME KATE's month-long blog tour on a high note.

I agree with you - it's surprising how many aspects of U.S. history are unknown. I'm glad that Molly Roe introduced you to a new portion of the Civil War time period in a northern coal mining town. It is sad to note that bigotry remains in the U.S. even as it shifts and takes different forms.

Mindy - thanks for allowing Kari to share CALL ME KATE with the readers of Reading for Sanity. We appreciate your support of the book, and thoroughly enjoy your blog.

Best wishes,
Tribute Books


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