Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Uglies and stuff
Now, I'd nearly decided not to bother commenting on Scott Westerfeld's Uglies. I mean, hasn't everybody and their brother's cousin's best friend's second cousin talked about already? It was a decent read about a future in which at the age of 16 everyone undergoes an operation to become pretty which pretty much renders everyone almost the same, thus alleviating many of the problems that existed in "Rusty" (which I take to be our current) society stemming from differences in the way people looked. Tally Youngblood eagerly awaited the day when she would be transformed into a pretty, but her friendship with the runaway Shay, who decides that there are more important things than just looking the same as everyone else, stands in the way of Tally's future as a pretty. In the process of trying to find Shay in the Smoke, a community of runaway uglies who have rejected the opportunity to turn pretty, Tally learns some unexpected truths about the operation and just what it entails which cause her to think twice about her present and her future. Not a bad read, as a matter of fact, I thought the premise was quite insightful. The writing, however, seems to limit Uglies to just what it is, young adult fiction for, well, young adults. I guess I prefer my YA to be a bit more age-transcendant, which it often happens to be. For its target audience, this is a page-turning adventure story with a stimulating premise that ponders what happens when we exhaust our resources and corrupt our environment beyond its breaking point. For grown-ups who enjoy YA, I'd have to say that, while the story is engaging, I found the writing a bit on the shallow side. Ah, but I'm sure you could find a hundred others who disagree with my opinion.
Now, if you're wondering about my twisted reasoning behind pseudo-reviewing this book after all, I'd have to tell you it has to do very little with the book and a lot more with the piece Uglies author Scott Westerfeld wrote on YA for Obama which is anything but shallow. I saw the link to YA for Obama at Sarah Miller's blog (I think...) and have been finding many of the YA authors' blog posts on the coming presidential election and why they happen to have leanings toward voting for Obama to be very worth reading. I found Sarah Zarr's and Scott Westerfeld's to be particularly interesting, but I'm sure there's even more good stuff there if you happen to want to have a look around over there, and apparently there's even more good stuff yet to come. Maybe not all rock solid fact but valid in the insightful editorial sense.
Disclaimer: Uh-oh. I think I may have just tipped my political "hand," so to speak. It's not my intention to do a lot of politics-talking here, but it's hard to avoid mentioning it at all when it's such an important part of life here in the US of A these days. I'm kind of surprised I held out this long.