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GILBERT AND SULLIVAN SET ME FREE by Kathleen Karr

GILBERT AND SULLIVAN SET ME FREE

By Kathleen Karr

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: June 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-7868-1916-2
Publisher: Hyperion

Based on historical events that would seem incredible if fictitious, this fast-paced outing places itself in a Massachusetts women’s prison in 1914. Libby Dodge, 16, in for jewel theft, finds herself mixing with a veritable stew of female felons, from housebreakers and prostitutes to drug addicts and baby murderers. When she comes to the attention of the new prison chaplain because of her clear singing voice, a new chapter in her life opens up. Against all probability, the chaplain turns a ragtag mob of criminals into first a choir, then a full-scale theatre company to perform The Pirates of Penzance, creating goodwill, solidarity, and self-esteem among the motley bunch. Karr offers an appealing blend of comedy, drama, history, and politics, the latter played out in the conversations among the inmates whose takes on women’s rights in 1914 still seem relevant today. If the ending for Libby is a little pie-in-the-sky, given her antecedents, it is still emotionally satisfying. A splendid historical note details the actual events and individuals that inspired the novel. (Fiction. 10-14)