City of Grit and Gold

City of Grit and Gold
Publisher Name
Allium Press of Chicago
Age Group
9+
Published Date
May 01, 2017
ISBN Number
9780996755856
The streets of Chicago in 1886 are full of turmoil. Striking workers clash with police…illness and injury lurk around every corner…and twelve-year-old Addie must find her way through it all. Torn between her gruff Papa—who owns a hat shop and thinks the workers should be content with their American lives—and her beloved Uncle Chaim—who is active in the protests for the eight-hour day—Addie struggles to understand her topsy-turvy world, while also keeping her family intact. Set in a Jewish neighborhood of Chicago during the days surrounding the Haymarket Affair, this novel vividly portrays one immigrant family’s experience, while also eloquently depicting the timeless conflict between the haves and the have-nots.

Editor review

1 review
A Glimpse into the Past
Overall rating
 
4.3
Writing Style
 
5.0
Plot/Story
 
4.0
Illustrations (if applicable)
 
N/A
Characters (if applicable)
 
4.0
Editing/Design Quality
 
N/A
'City of Grit and Gold' by Maud Macrory Powell offers a glimpse into the lives of those who came from the old country, through the lens of historical fiction. Even though the main characters are Jewish, the story could easily have been about anyone coming from a faraway place and trying to make it in America.

Main character Addie can be easily related to by anyone who has ever felt somewhat on the outskirts of his or her family. She watches as her Uncle Chaim gets involved with protesters who are fighting for a better working wage, while her mother works to keep the household running and her father and another uncle run a hat shop as the family business. Her siblings, having come from the old country as young children, don't feel the same sense of obligation to their father's old world values as he does, however. Her older brother has differing political views and seems taken with the law, while her older sister, much in the tradition of 'Fiddler on the Roof,' considers leaving with a boy she has met to start a new life away from her family.

Addie's devotion to her various family members and desire to see everyone happy and healthy, while sickness weighs upon one of her cousins and countless others she comes upon in her travels through the streets of Chicago, is the crux of this novel. There were scenes that could have been explored further, but Powell's writing style brings the characters' personalities and thought processes to the forefront, providing ample opportunities for readers to connect with the past while feeling that the issues Addie and her family are facing could also be relevant currently.

'City of Grit and Gold' is a worthwhile read that sheds light on how purpose and dedication to a cause, whether for one's own family or others, can tear people apart yet at the same time bring them together. With Chicago as a backdrop, Addie and her family and friends show how big city life, while seemingly enticing, can bring with it huge changes that some may not be prepared for, while others are ready and willing to weather any trouble for the chance at a better life for their children and their children's children.
Good Points
'City of Grit and Gold' is a worthwhile read that sheds light on how purpose and dedication to a cause, whether for one's own family or others, can tear people apart yet at the same time bring them together.
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