Ademption's Reviews > Mockingbird

Mockingbird by Walter Tevis
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's review
Aug 17, 2016

really liked it
bookshelves: novels, speculative-fiction, dystopian
Recommended for: Young Adults, people who read and liked "The Man Who Fell to Earth"
Read in April, 2009

Mockingbird is an excellent YA novel full of morbid black comedy. A sad robot, a film professor, and a zoo-living, half-feral lady are the only reflective people left on Earth. The other, few million individuals are drugged out or mutely religious. Everyone is sterile. The current fad is to self-immolate in trios down at Burger Chef after a pointless life of quick sex and sleeping pills. Through the last couple, the prof and the wild woman, who meet at the NYC Zoo's Reptile House, mankind comes to terms with its looming extinction.

As bleak as the set up sounds, this novel is a paean to the skill and joy of reading. As the film professor learns to read deeper --an eccentric skill he picked up as a kid from an ancient set of flashcards and learning cassettes-- he discovers a sense of purpose and wakes up from the nightmare of a world grown retarded with convenience and privacy. For decades, robots helped humans lose touch with themselves. These fascinating tools, created to aid humans, tirelessly continue to help humanity towards self-destruction.

Mockingbird is Walter Tevis' other novel of wintry sadness, possible apocalypse, and humans beyond redemption. Tevis distills the brutal melancholy of the self-reliant loner, packages it, and sells it as novels. This one is a little overlong, because Tevis was a tad didactic in reiterating the same themes and conclusions multiple times, but the book is otherwise brilliant.
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08/17 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Tanvir Muntasim Great review, though I don't think this is a YA novel.

Ademption Proto-YA novel then? I see old copies or marketing for Mockingbird and The Queen's Gambit that mentions that they are for teens. Mockingbird may not have a manic pixie girl, or tentative blow jobs. You could be right, Tanvir. I feel neither way about it being in or out of the category.

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