Liza Gilbert's Reviews > Revolution

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
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's review
Oct 25, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: bfya2011, young-adult

** spoiler alert ** To me, this was one of those rare books that you find in your life that cause time and space to stand still while you read. Donnelly created a story that was so three dimensional that I felt it might actually be able to sit next to me on the couch and breathe. She is a fantastic creator of worlds; which means a lot, especially when you're covering real places and real history. Having never read Donnelly before, I am now a very strong fan.

However, I have some equally strong complaints about this book. First, the two main characters are whiny, self-absorbed, arrogant, bellyaching miscreants. Had the plot not been so interesting to me, I would have stopped on page 5. I'm confused as to why Donnelly would have made the characters so mean: their moaning contributed nothing to the advancement of the plots or themes.

Second, the primary character is severely depressed and abuses her medication. My understanding is that dosage changes in psychotropic medications can cause drastic side effects including hospitalization and death. The main character willy-nilly gobbles pills with dizziness being the only main reaction, which is highly unlikely.

Donnelly was ethically irresponsible when she wrote that the main character and her institutionalized mother literally throw their medication out the window. Stopping psychotropic medication cold turkey almost always has wretched consequences from a relapse in the mental illness to vomiting, seizures, institutionalization, heart problems, and death. That Donnelly had the characters suddenly get better and live happily ever after flies in the face of all medical evidence to the contrary, and in a novel that is otherwise well-researched, is lazy and negligent.

Third, I have, in all my years as an independent reader, never read a young adult or adult book that so frequently talks about farting. I do believe that Donnelly might have actually mentioned farting more times than the entire picture book Walter the Farting Dog. While I understand that hygiene standards were different in France during the Revolution, Donnelly oddly mentioned farting just as often in the contemporary portions of the novel. It drew me out of the story and made me wonder about Donnelly's intentions.

Fourth, I can't give five out of five stars to any book that lists wikipedia in its sources.

So why am I giving this book four stars? Because despite the grave issues I had with the drugs, mean protagonists, and frequent flatulence, the rest of the book really was just that good.

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Quotes Liza Liked

Jennifer Donnelly
“History is a Rorschach test, people. What you see when you look at it tells you as much about yourself as it does about the past.”
Jennifer Donnelly, Revolution

Reading Progress

10/26/2010 page 50

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Sarah I received this ARC awhile back and now I have to read it. Just because of the farting. :)

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