Friday, May 20, 2011
Me on Wither
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Release Date: March 22, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Unbearably haunting and frighteningly possible, Lauren DeStefano has crafted a very possible future where mankind is dying at younger and younger ages and young teenage girls are forced into polygamous marriages to keep the human race from dying out. This book may be hard for some readers to stomach, eternal optimists or those who feel the future holds such promise, but take out the dystopian setting and what are we left with?
A young girl who will do anything, who will escape a lavish household, who will leave behind a loving husband she was forced to marry, to search for her twin brother.
What if you knew you exactly when you would die? This single sentence is massively powerful, and it's part of the synopsis to hook readers. It's freakishly dismal and depressing, knowing that once you hit 20, or 25, that you'd be overtaken by a terrible genetic twist of fate and die. Most people barely start living at 20 or 25.
Early buzz for this book called it The Handmaid's Tale for this new generation. I can't stand that book, but enjoyed this one, which is interesting. Both give me that same "is this really what the world might turn into in the next 50/100 years and will younger and younger girls be used as brood mares to make sure the human race won't die out" weird squidgy feeling. It's books like this that make me realize I'm somewhat of an optimist when it comes to the future.
Rhine was an interesting character, full of unexpected resilience and hope and determination, even when faced with kidnapping and a forced marriage and a husband and an extremely creepy father-in-law.
I'm not sure what else I can say about this book without giving it away or turning readers away, so I'll leave you with this. This is one of those books that should not be read at night. It pulls at you, drawing your expectations from you, leaving you huddled, gasping, drained, emotions raw and exposed to a chill wind. The possible realism is shocking, and I hope if the world we know now does turn into Rhine's world, if we are stricken by a genetic ticking time-bomb, I hope I'm not around to live in it.