Friday, November 30, 2012


Lily here. Normally I'm not the one to be posting about books I've read. That's more a Bethany or Julie thing to do. However, Bethany recommended this book to me. So, I read it over Thanksgiving break. All week, I've been wanting to write something about it but haven't gotten around to it until now.  Uprising is super well-written book by one of Bethany's favorite authors, Margaret Petersen Haddix. I know you aren't supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I think the designers did an excellent job on this one. It really sets the powerful, haunting tone of the book well, and it gets Bella, Yetta, and Jane (the main characters) stuck in your mind. 

The book is historical fiction based on real events that happened in the early 1900's in New York City: the uprising of the 20,000 (a strike by 20,000! garment workers - mostly young immigrant women) and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire that killed 146 workers. This fire was the most deadly business-place disaster to take place in New York City until September 11, 2001. I couldn't quite picture a shirtwaist despite the description in the book, so I looked up a picture. They aren't exactly popular nowadays, but they were all the rage for women back then.

The story is written in the 3rd person, with each new chapter focusing on a different one of the main characters. Bella (far right in the picture) is a super recent Italian immigrant to America who gets a job at the Triangle. Yetta (center in the picture), one of Bella's coworkers, is a Jewish Russian immigrant who's been in the U.S. longer and who gets really involved in the strike right off the bat. Jane (far left in the picture) is the daughter of a wealthy businessman, and she's just started to realize her wealth has come at the expense of factory workers. It doesn't happen overnight, obviously, but the three 15-year-old girls eventually end up becoming close friends.

The first chapter starts 20+ years down the road, with one of the daughters of the Triangle Factory boss coming to talk to "Mrs. Livingston," one of the three girls. You learn that Mrs. Livingston is the only one of the trio to survive the fire, but you don't know which girl Mrs. Livingston is. You don't find out for sure until the final chapters. My guess was totally wrong!

All book long you're dreading the fire you know is coming, but tons of other truly horrible stuff happens to these girls too, especially Bella and Yetta. It is appalling the stuff people got away with doing to young immigrant women. And it wasn't just male factory owners, overseers, and police. It was other women too! These girls were tough and determined to the max - you can't help but get emotionally attached to them. Everything that ends up happening seems so real and vivid in my mind.

This book really makes you think. About where your clothes come from, for one: who makes them, what kind of conditions the workers work in, and whether they are paid fairly. It has inspired me to learn more about the Women's Rights Movement. It also has made me feel really blessed to live in this time period as a middle-class American girl. Way too often we take it all for granted!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pass the Pie

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is the most spectacular first Thanksgiving I could've hoped for! It is sunny, breezy, and 58 degrees outside! Mom and my sisters say that this is highly unusual. I'm told that it's usually cold, dreary, and wet from rain or slushy snow by the 20's of November. Julie, Felicity, and Mom even remember a Thanksgiving snowstorm from a few years back. Oh, Michigan weather.

The four of us dolls just got back from an awesome trail ride on our horses. We thoroughly enjoyed what is most likely our last ride of the year without wearing heavy coats. Now it is almost time for all of us dolls to eat Thanksgiving dinner. We just have to wait for the humans to leave for their own dinner with relatives. I'm most excited to try pumpkin pie for the first time! Okay, gotta go! Mom and family are leaving!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Bad Writing At Its Best

Hi. Julie here. Mom came across these gems online last week and shared them with me. These are supposedly similes real students have used in their essays. I don't know if that's true or not, but they sure are funny. Enjoy!

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two other sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. She caught your eye like one of those pointy hook latches that used to dangle from screen doors and would fly up whenever you banged the door open again.

4. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

5. McMurphy fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

6. Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.

7. Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the center.

8. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

9. He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.

10. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

11. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

12. The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the period after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can.

13. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

14. The thunder was ominous sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play.

15. The red brick wall was the color of a brick-red Crayola crayon. 

16. Even in his last years, Grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long it had rusted shut.

17. The door had been forced, as forced as the dialogue during the interview portion of "Jeopardy!"

18. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

19. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

20. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

21. Her artistic sense was exquisitely refined, like someone who can tell butter from "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter."

22. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

23. It came down the stairs looking very much like something no one had ever seen before.

24. The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

25. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

26. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

27. She was as easy as the "TV Guide" crossword.

28. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

29. She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.

30. Her voice had that tense, grating quality, like a first- generation thermal paper fax machine that needed a band tightened.

31. It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fall Marches On

Halloween has come and gone. We had a blast at the costume party we had with our cousins (the dolls belonging to Mom's sisters) in the basement on Halloween night. My sisters and I went in colonial dresses.
Here are some photos of us a few days earlier modeling our costumes:




Group Shot
Even though I'm not a huge fan of dresses, I'll admit we all looked pretty good. It was weird to see Lily wearing my dress, though. This was the first time I'd seen it worn by anybody else.
Now we've headed into the blah month of November. Mom saw her first snowflakes of the year on an early morning walk on Saturday, but luckily no significant snow is in the immediate forecast.

I was on Basilmentos' blog and got my first glimpse of Saige, the 2013 Girl of the Year doll. Don't ask me why AG is already divulging photos in November. Whatever. Here she is:

I kind of like her, though that outfit is totally not going to work for riding that horse. I'm guessing her eyes will be the new aquamarine that Caroline and Marie-Grace have. What do you bet AG introduces a light gray horse with her? I seriously hope it's in the trotting pose so that Mom doesn't get any crazy ideas.