Friday, October 10, 2014
Me on Glory O'Brien's History of the Future
Author: A.S. King
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Hachette Book Group imprint)
Graduating from high school is a time of limitless possibilities--but not for Glory, who has no plan for what's next. Her mother committed suicide when Glory was only four years old, and she's never stopped wondering if she will eventually go the same way... until a transformative night when she begins to experience an astonishing new power to see a person's infinite past and future. From ancient ancestors to many generations forward, Glory is bombarded with visions--and what she sees ahead of her is terrifying: A tyrannical new leader raises an army. Women's rights disappear. A violent second civil war breaks out. And young girls vanish daily, sold off or interned in camps. Glory makes it her mission to record everything she sees, hoping her notes will somehow make a difference. She may not see a future for herself, but she'll do anything to make sure this one doesn't come to pass.
Glory O'Brien's History of the Future is a dark, intelligent, layered coming of age. Through Glory's eyes we see glimpses of a near and dangerous future and how those glimpses change how she sees the world, how she sees the people around her. This is a definite must-read because of current discussions regarding feminism, equality, and women's rights.
Fresh out of high school, the world is there for Glory to take, to seize. The possibilities are endless. But how can they be when she knows what's coming? Can she still live her life, a happy one? A normal one? Or is the future to bleak?
I find it hard to review this like any other book I would review here. I could talk about Glory, her lonely life, her disconnect from a number of 'normal teenager things,' but all I can think about is the future Glory sees. That future frightens me, like Karen Healey's When We Wake, like Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, because it's so believable. This future could very well happen.
But it's not all dark and dismal. There is hope, as there always is, hope that those oppressed won't have to live in exile any longer, that they won't live in fear, that they will one night get more than a couple hours of sleep because they could be kidnapped or killed. It's just a bit hard to see.
I found this to be an extremely culturally-relevant book for the current climate, a book that should be read by all ages and all genders.
(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Hachette Book Group Canada.)