Book clubs are risky – bunch of girls (and a couple of guys) who love reading, love booze and love pies. It’s a good laugh and enjoyable when there’s a book you like, slightly terrifying when you are given a book to read that you hate…
And so to this, a book adored by the head of book club. And I hated it.
It’s weird as I read a very similar book many years ago, a series actually, much loved, written by a kiwi author Maurice Gee – ‘The Halfmen of O’.
Dystopian fiction seems to be a favourite of mine, from Margaret Atwood, to George Orwell, to Adolus Huxley – I LOVE them. It feels lately that we’re at the start of one of these, from PRISM to the holding of the journalist Miranda last week to living in the most surveilled city on the planet – ‘Where are we headed as a society?’ I often ask myself. ‘Is this surveillance saving lives?’. ‘Why do we accept these intrusions with such apathy?’ ‘If we’re fine with this, where will the line be where we aren’t’?
And so to this.
Of course as always the premise is interesting. A town of men, young boy about to become a man, discovers a young girl, and they both, run away. The interesting thing, is that thoughts from all men are able to be heard – but the same thing doesn’t effect the women.
Sorta makes me think of China, with the last few years of the One Child policy there are now 118 boys to 100 girls. This could end up going two ways. While the policy has been removed, culturally will they still focus on having a son? If so – will that number continue to rise? Do females/women become a commodity – traded and given a value?
With the smaller numbers are they raised in value and lead the country? or are they dropped in value and treated as a lesser part of society? This book sort of raises that premise between the different villages visited, as they treat women in two different ways.
There was a big part of the book that really grated, and that was the way the protagonist treated his dog – which was cruelly. I don’t think there’s ever a space for that, and it made me pretty angry.
And one ‘priest’ kept coming back (from the dead?) which made for a never ending chase, which didn’t make sense and was a bit boring? zooming through it (it’s an easy read) it felt a bit like ‘urgh that guy again, this time with only half a face’…
I didn’t attend Book Club as I had a work night out, but I’m kinda glad I didn’t go as I was worried about my 1/5 star review – I hate offending people, and it’s hard to pull in my opinions sometimes, but I really felt I’d read much better books than this. Particularly Halfmen of O. They even had the Blue Bears before Philip Pullman used them in the His Dark Materials trilogy.