Monday, November 24, 2008

How I Found the Strong by Margaret McMullan - Historical Fiction Intermediate

Frank "Shanks" Russell, the youngest of the Russel family, is ten-years-old when the Civil War begins. Since he cannot enlist, "Shanks" stays at home when his father and brother head off to fight in the war. He is left with a big duty, looking after the rest of his family and his family's land, with the help of Buck, the family's slave. During this novel, "Shanks" questions the war and his beliefs of slavery; this question continues to trouble him as he becomes close with Buck's family. At first, this book was really slow, but it becomes really suspenseful when "Shanks" and Buck are making their way to the Strong River. I really enjoyed this book because it questions people's beliefs and illustrates to the reader what the Civil War was like for everyday people in the South. It helps demonstrate that not everyone lived on a large plantation with a lot of slaves, but most people were poor and underwent hard lives.

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