Across the Universe

15 Apr

Author: Beth Revis

Published: 2011

Date finished reading: April 14, 2011

For as long as I am partly defined by being a dreamer and a romantic, I’ll probably grow old still reading Young Adult Fiction. Yeah I know, as adults, we tend to think of them as too simplistic and cheesy. When I read Twilight? Meh… but I get why it has sold milions of copies, pushing a couple of teenagers into brief psychosis along the way.

Romance will always sell to teenagers. Why? Because adolescence is the time of the  reawakening of our sexual impulses (Freud’s Genital Stage, what else?) when we look at the opposite sex in a different light and feel…weird. The same way Elder sees Amy for the first time — red-orange koi fish-like hair, translucent skin, breasts. Physical love at first sight, if I may, which sadly, more or less exists only in the teenager’s world.

Growing up with a dominant tyrant for a parent instead of an affectionate, caring one…having always been different from everyone else on the get-go…being raised in a Utopian, emotionless society… we expect Elder to be more of a schizophrenic, manic-depressive, a narcissist, or at least a robotic schizoid. With a trained eye,  Elder’s character would be easily dismissed as too perfect. But alas, submitting to the adolescent’s cognition, we give way to an audience who are just crawling out of a rigid, structured, rule-driven parental system and a predominantly idealistic mentality. A hero will only be a hero if he is good with just enough charming imperfections to still be human.

The most interesting part for me was in the end when Eldest, the older Elder and Elder meet because gives us a sampler of Kohlberg’s stages of morality. Eldest and older Elder choose authority and social order (Stage 4) to maintain a functional society despite succumbing to manipulation, tyranny and murder. Amy was appalled by their actions because it is not normal compared to the society she lived in and because murder and lying are just WRONG (Stage 3). Of course, kudos to our perfect protagonist Elder, who unsurprisingly has the highest level of morality (higher than his peers in present Sol-Earth, a whopping Stage 6!) of choosing what is inherently good which, he trusts, will eventually bring forth the ultimate common good in the truest sense of the term.

Will I read this book again? Probably not but the unique concept that’s reminiscent, albeit thinly,  of the likes of The Hunger Games series is greatly appreciated.

 By the way, I’m scoring through the perspective of an adult who really shouldn’t be reading YA novels at her age, anyways.


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