Haddix, M. (2007). Uprising. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers.
Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Uprising is a fictionalized account of the historic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City on March 25, 1911. This event struck at the heart of workers’ rights and the treatment of women, both controversial issues at the time. This story follows three young women, Bella, Yetta, and Jane as they attempt to cope with the demeaning treatment they receive as women and second-rate citizens. These issues concerning women are also compounded by the intense pressure surrounding the cruel and unjust treatment of factory workers at the time. Often times these women workers could find no better jobs than menial shirtwaist factory jobs which entailed hunching over a machine for the majority of the day and receiving barely enough money to survive. On top of all this, the fire and safety equipment in most factories were not routinely maintained. This created a working environment for the young women factory workers in which many exists to the building were locked to discourage taking breaks from work. These deadly oversights combined at once on March 25 when the factory became engulfed in flames. Much of the safety equipment such as fire escapes crumbled off the building, and the other locked doors kept the women trapped in the flames. Haddix’s fictionalized account of history brings the reader closer to these issues at hand. Though the women’s suffrage movement has long passed, the reader experiences the unfair treatment of women at the time in a very real way. This young adult novel sheds light on the plight of women, factory workers, and immigrants throughout the history of the United States. In the end, this novel has one main message that reverberates with strength and meaning throughout the centuries: all people, whether they are women, immigrants, or the poor, deserve the same rights and treatment as all other people. Marginalizing certain members of society can have dire consequences, and once you hurt someone, that hurt cannot be undone. Only in the wake of tragic death do some people realize that it is time for a change in the respect and treatment given to others. Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Uprising is a harrowing, fictionalized journey of how 146 tragic deaths helped changed the course of history.