Sarah's Stars

Barbara Greenwood. Factory Girl
Kids Can Press $16.95  ISBN 978-1-55337-649-1  136 pg.
Reviewed by Melissa, Age 15

Emily Watson and her family are devastated when father leaves to find work farther west, and away from them. It wasn’t enough that he couldn’t be around anymore, but suddenly the money he is sending through the mail stops coming. During the early 1900s, it was very difficult for the family to obtain money…and her mother could not go out to work, because she had to look after the two young toddlers. So, it was up to Emily. She had to go out and find a job. When she finally does it is in a factory and the ruthless boss and grueling work that lasts all day long, was nothing that she had expected. But the twelve-year-old girl has no choice. She needs the four-dollar pay that she gets at the end of each week, and even if the conditions are dirty, unsafe and difficult, she has to try. She soon finds out how truly awful this place is and the damage that it can do.

This book is full of information and pictures. The thing that really startles me is that what is written, is true. Everything that happened to Emily Watson happened in real life. It is hard to believe how terrible the working conditions in factories were for young children. The pictures are moving and the children in them seemed to stare at you with adult eyes. It was chilling to read about the tragedies and the pain children and adults endured in these work places. The hideous truth is that nothing changed until the ultimate heartbreak. I liked the way that the author switched from Emily Watson’s point of view, to the informational point. It was interesting and all the characters have their own flare. They are a mesmerizing group of people that only entice the reader further.

I would recommend Factory Girl for people twelve years and older. It is definitely worth the read.

I give this book about child labour five overwhelming stars.


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