ASHES OF ROSES by Mary Jane Auch

ASHES OF ROSES

Age Range: 11 - 14

KIRKUS REVIEW

Sixteen-year-old Margaret Rose Nolan spends two endless weeks in steerage, coming to New York with her family from Limerick in 1911. But as soon as they arrive, her Da has to go back with her baby brother, whose eye disease keeps him from getting into the country. Ma, Margaret Rose (who chooses Rose as her American name), and Maureen find Uncle Patrick and prepare to stay with him, but his German wife and daughters do not take to the “greenhorns” and soon Ma, too, decides to go back. Rose wants to stay, however, despite an unpleasant experience at a flower-making sweatshop, and Maureen stays with her. They find a room with a Russian Jew and his fiery daughter, Gussie, a union organizer who gets Rose a job at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory. It is the infamous fire at the factory that forms the climax of this first-person narrative, but readers will come to understand the background of the tragedy as well as something of the immigrant experience through Rose’s eyes. The local color of Hester Street, the rise of a second generation of Irishmen like Rose’s Uncle Patrick, and the many nationalities of the girls who worked at Triangle provide some interest, but the characters don’t quite come to life. Those who stay with the story, though, will be mesmerized by its gripping finale and the loss of so many Roses. (extensive author’s note) (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-8050-6686-1
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2002




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