Wednesday, 18 August 2010
Review: Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony
The year is 2041, and sixteen-year-old Molly McClure has lived a relatively quiet life on an isolated farming island in Canada, but when her family fears the worst may have happened to her grandparents in the US, Molly must brave the dangerous, chaotic world left after global economic collapse—one of massive oil shortages, rampant crime, and abandoned cities.
Let me start by saying how much I love the word Dystopian; isn't it wonderful. It conjures up all these images of a post apocalyptic world even before you start the story.
Written in 1st person narrative; Molly is a wonderfully caring 16 year old, raised in a fashion of a by-gone era where families worked and played together, having a caring family is valued higher than possessions. As a result of this upbringing Molly appeared a bit naive and innocent to the other side of society when she first starts her journey. We soon discover that although Molly is naive to the ways of this particular world (for I felt as if her home was in fact a different world), she possess a wonderful strength of character and determination. Her openness draws people to her and she has a fabulously loving nature that rubs off on the people around her.
The writing is wonderfully descriptive, making the whole reality easy to recreate within the imagination. The musical descriptions felt as if they were reverberating from the pages (if you look at the trailer you can understand why I wish I had watched it before reading the book). Although not a gardener myself, I could fully appreciate the description and how tactile it felt. The description of Molly trying to walk in high heels had me in stitches.
The story is set in a future following a global economic collapse. *ponders, sounds familiar* The whole premise was so topical and thought provoking, plus quite frankly terrifying with the current state of the economy. I found the whole economics angle within the narrative surprisingly easy to relate to, it was like reading Economics for Dummies as I am not that hot on Economics. It was really interesting and helpful in understanding how the system works. For example, it showed how as a population we tend to put value on a small amount of things. Greater value is placed on possessions and shows of wealth rather than being content with having what you need. It also showed how a chain reaction can quickly occur, something I personally had not considered: unable to eat beef = collapse of fast food industry = mass unemployment. Paving the way for Organised Crime Syndicates to take over, the black market taking on a wider meaning. There is even a reference to Prohibition within the narrative and that is exactly the image I had in my head while I was reading the book. Making the divide between rich and poor even greater.
As you know I like the bad boys, so the introduction of Spill had me hook, line and sinker. A bad boy trying to be good, to get out of the life he has been forced to live. The budding romance/friendship between Molly and Spill was really cute and added an extra element to the plot.
This story really made me think about how as a population we need to readdress our values. To sustain society we need to go back to old values of putting family first and only having the things we actually need rather than getting into debt to have things that would be of little or no value in the future. It showed how much we take our resources for granted. At the moment it is easy to travel the world, how often have you heard the comment it is a small world; in reality it isn't. We have been fortunate to have the technology and resources with which we can travel but we need to keep in mind that without them this type of travel would not be possible. I especially liked that the story was not all doom and despair, it had an optimistic edge to it with a good dose of hope at the end. Making it a terrific topical, thought provoking read with a heart warming delivery.
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