"She has spent most of the day reading and is feeling rather out of touch with reality, as if her own life has become insubstantial in the face of the fiction she's been absorbed in."
After You'd Gone - Maggie O'Farrell
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.
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This book reminds me of how most girls in Hong Kong (my hometown) are all aiming for this look--whitening skin, glittering lips, anorexic body. Everyone carries the same bag, have the same long hair, and wear the same heels. Why does everyone want to be clones of each other?ReplyDelete
Interesting little group, that YA group. Seems they don't like free and open debate because you have to be a member of the club to voice your opinion.ReplyDelete
I find that very interesting.
Matt, I don't understand this weird obsession with being all the same, either. Why's everybody so scared to be a little different?ReplyDelete
CJ, the "What is YA for Obama?" page linked from the "home" page does say that anybody is welcome to sign up and join the group - regardless of political affiliation. I haven't signed up, but I assumed that doing so would allow you to leave comments on the blogposts or talk on their forum. Maybe I'm mistaken?
Nope, you're right. I guess I've never been fond of groups that make me join to engage in a little dialogue. And, I don't really want to join a pro-Obama group. I wouldn't mind asking some questions, however. Aw, well; their group, their rules and I'm fine with that in the long run.