I enjoyed this book, but I was also disappointed with it. It could have been and done so much more.
I think its biggest failing is that it's really jus...moreI enjoyed this book, but I was also disappointed with it. It could have been and done so much more.
I think its biggest failing is that it's really just a love story. It's a pretty good love story, and I like love stories, but I also like dystopias, and here it felt like the dystopia was just a vehicle for allowing Oliver to set up her characters' forbidden love. And that's a shame. Because I actually think the idea of love as a disease has the potential to be compelling. But she simply doesn't DO anything with that idea. I wanted to see her get clinical and descriptive; I wanted her to really flesh out the concept of love as SICKNESS. She does make her main character kind of afraid of and disgusted by love, as much of society is supposed to be, but she really didn't own that fear. I think if we saw a protagonist who was truly TERRIFIED of love, who viewed it as an almost literal equivalent of the plague, that would have been interesting. But instead we just get a kind of half-hearted opposition to it that isn't developed.
And not much of the world really is developed. Again, the whole dystopia exists as a vehicle for the love story, and that's a shame and a waste. There are only a few moments where you truly feel the horror and oppression of the world, and even those moments aren't developed enough. While lots of other people seemed to really like that each chapter is prefaced with a pop culture snippet, claiming that it really gives you a sense of the society, I felt like it was kind of gimmicky, and only gave you a shallow look. I also felt like those snippets existed so the author felt justified in not doing much real worldbuilding of her own.
Despite these complaints, like I said, I did enjoy it. The main character was likable, and the love story was pretty good -- I mean, who doesn't get sucked into teen love? Also, the writing itself is surprisingly good. Oliver has an ear for language, and there are a lot of really lyrical descriptions.
I imagine if you're the type who likes YA dystopian futures, and who doesn't mind predictability, you won't hate this. But you might be disappointed. This novel isn't anything amazing, but like I said earlier, I feel like it really could have been.
ETA: I totally forgot to indicate I listened to this one on audio. The reader was good!(less)
This was a fantastic book. I admittedly haven't read very many parenting books, so on that front I don't have much to compare it to, but I would still...moreThis was a fantastic book. I admittedly haven't read very many parenting books, so on that front I don't have much to compare it to, but I would still recommend this book to parents, particularly if you like information that's based on actual research. In that regard I'd also recommend this to anyone (parents or not) interested in child development. Some fascinating stuff here!
Some chapters were more interesting than others, of course, but with the exception of the chapter on gifted and talented programs (which I think was less interesting to me merely because I don't ever see it applying -- even if I don't homeschool my future kids, I doubt I'm going to be a very achievement-test-oriented parent), they were all pretty engrossing. I especially loved the sections on praise, sleep, racism/racial beliefs, lying, and language development.
Like I said earlier, beyond being interesting, what makes this book so great is the solid research backing up all their claims. Lots of times the research is counterintuitive, or different than what they were hoping/expecting to find, but they always report on the actual science, which is great. I bought a print copy of this to reference when I do have kids, because it's definitely the type of book where you want to underline and dog-ear and go back to. (less)
Meh. It does a lot with a little and I feel like it I should be impressed with its deceptive simplicity, but...who knows. I think ultimately I just wa...moreMeh. It does a lot with a little and I feel like it I should be impressed with its deceptive simplicity, but...who knows. I think ultimately I just wasn't in the mood for something this deadpan and dark.(less)
A fast easy read that, as others have pointed out, shouldn't be so easy. There are plenty of intelligent reviews out there that analyze the various is...moreA fast easy read that, as others have pointed out, shouldn't be so easy. There are plenty of intelligent reviews out there that analyze the various issues at play here, so I'm not going to get into it. Needless to say, I found the book very problematic. Why don't white people understand the whole White Savior thing?
I will say that the voice actors on the audio version were good. It was interesting to hear the characters' voices as spoken by themselves and then as done by someone else describing a conversation. Listening to the black women doing white women voices conveyed an amusing and appropriate sense of whiny privilege that I'm not sure was in the writing itself.(less)
It had some useful information, but a lot of it was common sense or specifically related to infertility issues, which seems like it should be a differ...moreIt had some useful information, but a lot of it was common sense or specifically related to infertility issues, which seems like it should be a different book.
My biggest issue, though, is that I hate cutesy writing. I hate it all the time, but I especially hate it in books about science. The bad puns and euphemisms (sorry, but grown ass people should not be referring to sperm as a dude's "swim team") really got to me. I know that eventually I will be trying to get pregnant, and I will probably post on message boards and thus succumb to using the awful abbreviations so as not to seem snobby, but if I ever spell out those abbreviations and ever refer to my period as Aunt Flo, or, worse, refer to sex as the Baby Dance, anyone reading this has my permission to kill me.(less)