25 Apr

Author: Ally Condie

Published: 2010

Date Finished: April 21, 2011

My second dystopian Young Adult read of the year (hopefully my last for the year) deals again with the same issues of idealism and the rebudding sexual impulse. For anyone wondering why the young adult fiction industry is populated with so many books on dystopia, provided that utopia or even a morally rigid society is a non-issue to most as of this time — it’s purpose is to externalize the inner tug-of-war of the typical female adolescent who transcends from following the poker-straight parental superego to understanding or experiencing all of these weird feelings, not just sexual in nature, but of wanting to basically just do whatever you want. A re-releasing of any form of gratification, so to speak. They may or may not coincide with what mom or dad wants, but it is the first step as an individual towards a more solid identity. In the real world, rearrangement of hormone levels, early existentialism (who the f*** am I?) and house rules are literally components of the typical teen’s dystopia.

I read this because the premise was cute but after the match, everything in the novel just goes downhill. The world Condie painted was too bland and boring– perfectly allocated calories, zero crime, no history, “mandatory” recreation, curfew. It can never exist. Why? Because everyone would die of boredom.

I found one part utterly interesting though. When granddad died expectedly at exactly 80 years old, surrounded by loved ones and with all his wits intact. As a constant witness to the injustice and cruelty of any form of dementia to elderly patients, I found this part comforting and peaceful — like listening to the beautiful last notes of my favorite Chopin piano piece then silence. Crazy but I’ll probably agree to a slow, expected, painless death right before my neurological synapses give way to wear and tear if it would mean seeing the world one last time, with full awareness, wisdom and great appreciation. Chronic paranoia and loss of sense of self will always be scarier than death. Better still to enter the abyss as me.


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