Challenge criteria: A book about feminism.
In a world in which baby girls are no longer born naturally, women are bred in schools, trained in the arts of pleasing men until they are ready for the outside world. At graduation, the most highly rated girls become “companions”, permitted to live with their husbands and breed sons until they are no longer useful.
For the girls left behind, the future – as a concubine or a teacher – is grim.
Best friends freida and isabel are sure they’ll be chosen as companions – they are among the most highly rated girls in their year.
But as the intensity of final year takes hold, isabel does the unthinkable and starts to put on weight. ..
And then, into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride.
freida must fight for her future – even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known. . .
What I liked:
This was a re-read for me, so I did know what would happen at the end. I just forgot some of the journey there. With the knowledge of the outcome in the back of my mind, I did pick up a little more on the nuances of the story. I wonder did I also do this the first time I read it?
There are some comparisons to The Handmaid’s Tale for this book. And it’s just as chilling a read for women as the former is. Louise will have you utterly hooked, and equally horrified, by tales of life for women in the not too distant future. It’s a tough read, but a very worthwhile one.
What I didn’t like:
With such a strong subject, it was obviously going to have some moments of tension and terror. I was never a fan of megan (this is a world where women’s names are lowercase, as women are so unimportant.) If I had been in school with her, she would have definitely targetted me.
In fact, I would hate to attend any institution like this. Thank goodness nothing like this exists in our time. . .
I would have liked to have seen more of isabel in the book. When we meet her, you get the feeling she will be a main character, but she appears very irregularly throughout. I’d have loved if more of her and frieda’s friendship was explored.
Out of five?:
Four. Terrifying reading, necessary reading.