Friday, December 9, 2011

Flesh & Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy by Albert Marrin

Please note that this is posted for our Mock Printz discussion.

I find it incredibly hard to discuss non-fiction. Maybe because I don't read it often? Regardless, here are my thoughts, disjointed though they may be, on Flesh & Blood So Cheap.

Very good narrative non-fiction. The author manages to write not only an incredibly interesting and historically accurate story, but infuses it with an appropriate level of drama. You want to keep turning the pages to see what happens next.

I was very impressed with how he started with the setting of the day of the fire as well as a major player and then backed up to give the fantastically interesting historical background to the Triangle Fire. Never during this portion does the reader loose sight of the goal, which is the understanding of how something like the Triangle Fire happened.

The photos were really well done. They related to the text and the blurbs underthem helped to tie them back to specific paragraphs. The photos were clear and helped to underscore important facts, people, and events.

I enjoyed how the author went some extra steps to include the origins of sayings that were pertinent to the story. Such as "beyond the pale" (p.15). He did this quite a bit with colloquialisms too, which was very enjoyable.

The writing after the scene of the Triangle Fire was perhaps a bit anti-climatic. How could it not be? It was about laws that came into place. I think the author's writing fell apart a bit during this portion. Or maybe it is just a drier subject.

My biggest complaint? Sweatshops were catagorically wrong and bad for people in the first part of the book. When explaining that sweatshops still exist in America the author was sort of factual, and when he got to sweatshops in other parts of the world he turned downright apologetic. They were no longer categorically wrong - they were written about as not totally awesome, but still pretty good. Better to work in a sweatshop than in the hot, hot sun in a rice paddy! Really? Are you serious?

It was a bit sickening. I think instead the author should have spoken about how western consumerism and weak international laws create situations where sweatshops not only still exist, but are allowed to flourish. This, to me, is why the book probably won't win any major prizes.

My other major complaint is the use of "for" to start waaaay too many sentences. For when authors use for, the reader can get annoyed.

Mock Printz Titles:

A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness
(Patti's 1st review)
Between Shades of Gray - Ruta Sepetys
(Patti's review)
Berlin Boxing Club - Robert Sharenow
(Patti's 1st review)
Blood Red Road - Moira Young
(Patti's 1st review)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor
(Joanna's review)
Divergent - Veronica Roth
(Patti's 1st review, 2nd review)
Everybody Loves the Ants - A.S. King
(Patti's 1st review)
Flesh and Blood so Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Legacy - Albert Marrin
Imaginary Girls - Nova Ren Suma
(Patti's review)
Where Things Come Back - John Corey Whaley
(Patti's 1st Review, 2nd review)

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