The Finnish word “Sisu” does not directly translate into English. It may be defined as a quality some people might have giving them the determination, strength, and courage to make it through situations in life that are challenging, or a characteristic that takes over when fortitude and determination run out.
This is the story of Emma, born in America from a Finnish immigrant family. She has a pretty good life so far living in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, but when a harsh strike emerges against C&H and the other mining companies in the Peninsula, her life will be changed forever. Will her family lose everything, and have to move back to Finland, or will the strike end soon enough for her family to keep living in the country of opportunity and freedom?
The book was stunning, but at some places in the story, it was confusing. The author writes very well, and you could really understand the characters emotions, and thoughts. I would give the book a 4 out of 5 because of the confusing parts, and because sometimes I lost interest while I was reading. I would recommend this book to any young reader who loves a good story. I would also recommend it to anyone age 9-15 because of the harsh situations and details.
My favorite part of the book was when Emma and her friend Marie were able to talk to each other again after Marie’s father had forbidden it. I learned many Finnish words, and I recommend that the author write many more diary-entry books. The main point of “Living on Sisu” by Deborah K. Frontiera was that your family always loves you in even the harshest conditions, which the author illustrated very well.