In the world we live in now, with such instant access to crises all over the world as they unfold, it makes sense that some of us are more than a little uneasy over the idea of the future.
I want to say things can only get better, but that’s exactly the type of narrow outlook that leads us right back into repeating the worst mistakes our history has to offer.
This book follows a young girl & her perseverance through a world ravaged by economic, environmental, and moral upheaval. Diligently documenting verses of a religion she has founded, Earth Seed, she seeks to create a new community in which people can live peacefully & prosper in the knowledge of truth.
One thing in particular that I love about this novel is the main character, Lauren Olamina. I would not categorize this as Young Adult, but Lauren is a young lady with a mind years beyond her age & a consistent adherence to logic & empathy.
While I read I just kept thinking of all the young characters I’ve read, in both Young Adult & Adult books alike, who make choices that defy reason for the sake of the plot. That’s not to say Lauren is perfect, in fact she’s glaringly flawed.
But her flaws were not at the center of every conflict this book had to offer.
Another, aspect of Lauren that I find fascinating is her Hyper-Empathy Syndrome; without experiencing any physical stimulus, Lauren is able to feel the pain & pleasure she perceives others to feel.
I’m sure many high educated scholars have analyzed this book, so without reading those I may be way off here, but the element of Hyper-Empathy Syndrome felt to me like a commentary on how pain can be passed down through generations.
Early in the book it’s revealed that Lauren’s father believes her Hyper-Empathy Syndrome was passed down to her because her mother abused drugs while pregnant. The fact that it is just speculation for the characters, that a real source of this curse cannot be verified, feels like a parallel to how, people can be directly affected by the suffering of their ancestors.
The idea of human desperation & selfishness sending us head first into a brutal apocalypse just makes my stomach turn. But alongside it is the idea that personal hope can exist in even the worst possible scenarios is a lasting, powerful message that we have clung to since the beginning of time.
And that’s why I think this is an important read.
There were places where it dragged just a bit for me, mostly in the second half. And I also felt as though some of the characters were introduced so quickly that I didn’t have time to get to know them the way I did with those introduced in the first half.