Audacity by Melanie Crowder is a novel (based on a true story) told entirely in verse. I’m not always the biggest fan of books in verse, so I was a little hesitant about this book. However, my interest was piqued when I realized that this was (inspired by) the story of Clara Lemlich. I had read a picture book about her with my students, and was looking forward to seeing what further information there was in a longer book (and one that is for older readers).
This turned out to be a great read! I still wanted more info when it was done (0ne of my problems with books in verse is that they always seem too short to me and I am left wanting more!). But I appreciated the additional information at the end that explained more about the historical parts of the book. It was also really interesting to read the interviews with Clara’s family members at the end, and to have this important historical figure be presented through the eyes of children and grandchildren. It made her very human!
The words in Audacity, as well as their placement on the page, are obviously very carefully chosen. Because the story is told in verse, each word is important, and there are no extras. In addition, the form of verse fits this novel well. It seems that the more confined form of the writing is fitting for the story of a girl who is confined in her role – first at home, not being allowed books; then in America, having to work to support her family even though she is young enough to be in school; then at work, not being treated fairly by her bosses. The carefully chosen words also seem important for a girl who loves books and education and who understands the power of words.