Lisa Rathbun's Reviews > The Last Book in the Universe

The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick
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's review
Aug 11, 2011

I really enjoyed this story of a grim futuristic world sharply divided between the "normals" in Urb and the "proovs" in Eden. Lots of comparisons could be made here - for example with "The Giver" especially in the aspect of old man/mentor passing on knowledge to a younger man. The story was violent but did not use bad language. Speaking of language, do not let the strange vocabulary in the first chapter throw you off. The slang words help make this universe convincing. The words are consistent throughout and are clever ("googan" means buffoon or silly person). I really liked the richness the new words added to this distopia.

The story is suitable for middle school, but it deals with deep topics: leadership, compassion, policial power, mob rule, the dangers of removing oneself from reality, isolation and elitism, and more. There were a few holes for me: *SPOILER* at the begining, Spaz references mindprobes which supposedly have been recently disabled. Also could Ryter's grandfather have seen the Grand Canyon? Does the tremendous devastation of the Big Shake only go back three generations? However, I think younger readers will be touched by the story of a damaged, shrinking young man whose is transformed through the friendship of a wise, old man and his own love for his foster-sister and his determination to reach her.
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