by Saung, Grade 7, Yangon International School
Imagine yourself being a teenage girl who transfers from Ireland to work in America without your parents, to earn money for the family and to stand yourself. How do you pass this life? Can you face these problems like Mary? But Mary did the best for her family although she was a teenage girl. Also she had to work in a spinning room that was noisy and dangerous. The Author Barry Denenberg is the author of several critically acclaimed books for middlegrade and young adult readers. He also wrote about many important areas of American history. In his novel So Far From Home, he represents the troubles and struggles of transferred workers from Ireland to America. This book helps one consider whether he or she could give up a known life for the hardship of unknown.
When Ma and Mary visited Aunt Nora in America, Mary learned about amazing opportunities in America. She took a risk to America for a better job. And then, she worked as a mill girl. Her sister, Kate, who did not care about Mary, worked as a maid in America. Mary lived lonely and felt depression, because she worked tiredly and there was no friend to talk with her. After some experiences, Mary could not see America as the land of opportunity concluded by Aunt Nora.
I thought the title So Far From Home can capture the essence of the book. I also thought the author wanted the readers to know the struggles of transferred workers from Ireland to America. He also described about how they lived poorly in other countries away from the family and how they solved their problems in the works. In this book, the descriptions of the authors were simple and interesting. I like the kindness of Mary upon her family. I liked the character of Mary because she worked hard to earn money difficultly for her family without complaining even though she was a teenager and a girl.
Therefore, every young adult should read this book to emulate the good characters of Mary and to understand the struggles of the world and the troubles of poor family. “On a scale of 1 (low) to five (high), I give this book a scale of three because this book was interesting and sad but in some plots it is kind of boring and not exciting.
A young Irish immigrant tries to make a life for herself after a grueling voyage to escape the Irish famine and to seek new opportunities in industrial Lowell, Massachusetts, despite the prejudice against the Irish, dreary living conditions, and the bad working conditions for women. This book is less focused and compelling than most entries in this series of fictional diaries of young girls in the early days of America. And the epilogue must be shocking and distressing for young readers, because Mary is killed off within two years of the abrupt ending of the story. I would not recommend this book for classroom use, and really only for fans who want to read the whole series. The Lexile measure is 710. I'd like to see a better novel about American prejudice against Irish immigrants from a child's point of view. For a better book about at least the Irish famine part of this story, see the heartbreaking Nory Ryan's Song, by Patricia Reilly Giff. I liked this book,this book was about a girl named Mary Driscoll and she goes to America.
A bit better than the other Dear America book that I read by this author...but still not as good as usual for this series. Fans of historical fiction can do much better. Wonderful story but fair warning, tis filled with tons of grievances!! Great history information at the end of the story!