September 25, 2008 at 3:59 pm (Books) (, , , , , )

I’ve just finished reading After by Francine Prose. It’s a young adult novel that my sister loaned to me.  I find that I still really enjoy alot of young adult novels.  The Giver by Lois Lowry is still one of my favourite pieces of dystopia, and I’m a huge fan of many series aimed originally at children/teens such as Emily of New Moon, and of course Harry Potter.

I can’t say that I loved this book though.  It wasn’t bad, but some parts of it seemed completely improbable to me.  The book is about highschool turning into a prison.  It’s really about the step by step oppression of a group of people, and how no one stops it when it’s supposedly done for that group’s own safety.  The book is set immediately after a school shooting at a nearby school.  Ok to that point I can follow it.

However, the administrator who is oppressing them is a one dimensionally evil character who seems to have no reason for what he does.  And the parents of the studen’ts seem to have been brainwashed through emails from the school.  I understand that some people can be very persuasive, but this administrator was sending children away for an unknown length of time, and they’re parents weren’t objecting.  I just couldn’t believe that; and it tinged the rest of the story for me.  Once there’s one thing that I can’t accept, it’s much harder to get into the book.

Having said that, I did enjoy many aspects of the book.  It was a frightening insight into what it might be like to be part of a group who’s rights are eroded, step-by-step, for their own “safety”.  I read the book in one sitting in an afternoon the other day, and spent the evening Googling Stalin and Hitler and reading about real life situations of oppression.

I’m not sure that I would recommend this book to anyone, but I wouldn’t try to talk someone out of reading it either (not that I ever do).  It certainly made me think.


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