Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Audacity by Melanie Crowder

The inspiring story of Clara Lemlich, whose fight for equal rights led to the largest strike by women in American history

A gorgeously told novel in verse written with intimacy and power, Audacity is inspired by the real-life story of Clara Lemlich, a spirited young woman who emigrated from Russia to New York at the turn of the twentieth century and fought tenaciously for equal rights. Bucking the norms of both her traditional Jewish family and societal conventions, Clara refuses to accept substandard working conditions in the factories on Manhattan's Lower East Side. For years, Clara devotes herself to the labor fight, speaking up for those who suffer in silence. In time, Clara convinces the women in the factories to strike, organize, and unionize, culminating in the famous Uprising of the 20,000. 
Powerful, breathtaking, and inspiring, Audacity is the story of a remarkable young woman, whose passion and selfless devotion to her cause changed the world. 



I could use many words to describe this book, but the one that stands out amongst all others is empowerment. Clara was a hero during her time. She immigrated with big dreams, but quickly dropped them for a greater good. She experienced the brutal workforce first-hand and made it her priority to stop it. She fought for fair wages, safe workplaces, freedom from harassment, and so much more. She put all she had into creating a women's union. She was belittled, beaten, laughed at, locked away, and shamed; and yet she never gave up. Her fierce bravery and strong will led her to one of America's greatest historic successes. It wasn't an easy battle, but she used her voice to empower others to use theirs.

Audacity was a book that I will never forget. It had a way of pulling me so deep into the pages that the lines between fiction and reality blurred. Each movement Clara made I felt as if I were making the movement myself. Every laugh directed at her, every punch thrown... I felt it. The words had a way of wrapping themselves around me and pulling me under. It's as if I slowly drowned in a pool of historic tragedy and was resucitated to a new world. Clara made sure that the brutality stopped. She pushed for equal rights and without her, who knows what America would be like today.

I highly recommend this book to readers of all ages. It's a story of ultimate sacrifice and I think all who read it will gain a broader appreciation for those who helped mold our world into what it is today.

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