UPRISING which tells the story of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire of 1911. Petersen skillfully wove fictional characters and events with researched facts to tell a compelling and important piece of US history!
Then, in her author note, she surprised me by writing the following:
"Personally, when I’ve just read a historical novel that seemed completely real to me—as I hoped this book seemed completely real to you—I hate to then read an author’s note explaining, “Well, this was real, but this wasn’t; this event didn’t actually occur, but it could have; this character I completely made up.” Because then the story recedes back into distant history, and what seemed so alive and immediate and tangible is gone. (Margaret Petersen Haddix)
Haddix chooses not to reveal which parts of Uprising were real. And now she's made me curious about how readers feel about this topic. Personally, I love author endnotes and I want to know the sort of info that Haddix doesn't. I don't think it changes the story for me. How about you?
1. When you read historical fiction, do you want to know which characters were real and which weren’t?
2. If you discover that a character was fictionalized or that the author rounded out some missing parts of the story with some imagined scenario, does the story lose some of its power over you?
3. What are the advantages and disadvantage of the reader knowing which parts really happened and which could have happened.
4. What kinds of info do you like to see in an Author’s Note?