Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Book review: My Story: Factory Girl by Pamela Oldfield

My Story: Factory Girl by Pamela Oldfield (Published by Scholastic UK, January 3, 2011)

Sixteen-year-old Florence and her family live in poverty in Victorian London in 1888. Florence, who unlike many poor young girls can read and write, starts a diary after her grandfather dies and leaves his diary to her. To help her family, Florence must start working at the Bryant & May match factory, despite the fact the her older sister died from a terrible disease as a result of working at the match factory.

Shortly after Florence goes to work at the factory, she starts hearing rumors of a possible strike, especially from a young newspaper reporter who interviews her to learn about the conditions at the match factory. While men in many industries have gone on strike before, this would be the first time for women. Florence isn't sure what to think. She believes herself and the other workers deserve better pay and conditions, but she is afraid of going on strike and not being able to bring any money home to her family, when they are already struggling to survive even with her wages.

This book wasn't one of my favorites from the My Story series. The historical information was interesting and the book was a quick read, but Florence's character wasn't really that well developed and so I didn't care that much about what happened to her. Readers who love the series or who are particulary interested in the historical setting might enjoy this book, but for readers who are new to the series I'd recommend starting with one of the other books. It wasn't a terrible book, I just enjoyed most of the other books in the series much more.

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