Friday, June 8, 2012

The Glimpse - Claire Merle

Synopsis: In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell. 
Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a ‘normal’ life. But then Jasper disappears.Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not intefere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society and into the pits of the human soul. And as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper's abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe, but she also learns to love as she has never loved before. (From Goodreads)

This is a book that I ultimately have mixed feelings about. On one hand it feels like an important social commentary and on the other hand, as a story, it fell short in a few places. I was so fascinated by the setting and the treatment of separation and classification of mental illnesses. Yet, I never grew to love or care for the main characters and I feel like there are some holes that haven't quite been addressed. I think if you crossed Matched by Allie Condie with Delirium by Lauren Oliver - you'd get The Glimpse.

I really wish I knew more about the politics behind this situtation. Claire Merle does an excellent job at taking a social flaw, putting it under a microscope, expanding it and exposing it. If I'm looking at this book solely in the world that is created, I think it's really well done. I don't know enough about the actual politics, or what's going on in the English government, to comment too much on this. It was interesting to look at what mental illness really is. For a book about mental illness, you don't actually see a lot of it - which is probably part of the point. Kind of - if everyone's crazy, then it's the sane people who become crazy - kind of situation. But it goes beyond mental illness to drug companies and the scary amount of power they have.

Not to mention, I'm pretty sure I'd be considered a crazy in this world. The 3 major mental illnesses are schitzophrenia, anxiety, and depression. But they also consider things like low-self esteem, irrational behavor, impulsive behavior, or even just outbursts to be signs of mental disease. Yeah, I'd be kicked out of the pure community so fast. How those pure people don't die of boredom is beyond me. But even the pures do things like abduct people, shock people, turn them into zombies. You know, the usual. The dyanamics of this world are just so well done. The conspiracy, the lies, the psycosis - all thought provoking.

It's where the story resembles that of Matched that this book loses me. So basically the romances. There's a love triangle in this book, and the relationships that Ana has with both boys feel totally empty. She's bound to Jasper and she adores him, goes to extraordinary lengths for him, but that felt a little undeveloped. Then there's Cole, who's a member of the Enlightenment Project, which basically goes against everything the Pures stand for. Ana winds up mixed up with him, and all they talk about is the society. They never really get a chance to know each other, but all of a sudden they're burning to be together. That connection was just missed. I think this book would have been so much better without all the relationship stuff. There's already plenty of drama, and the moments with the romance just felt empty.

And Ana's father. I don't understand him. I can't figure him out. His wife commits suicide and I can't tell if he is happy or sad about it. I can't tell if he's evil or misguided. I don't like that I don't know what his motives are, what he feels about certain situations. And it's so hard to tell if he's acting of his own volition or if he's just a corporate puppet. It's so frustrating.

The book ends with a set-up into another book, but I don't know if it will be a series or not. I think I'd keep reading, just because there are some questions I want answered. There were some things that were great here, and some that just fell short. I'd recommend this one if you are a fan of dystopia or books with a political statement.

3 comments:

  1. I agree with you about how Claire Merle handled the political and the actual discussion of the mental illnesses, she made a lot of really good points. Unfortunately I'm not part of the UK either so I think some of it fell on deaf ears because I'm not entirely sure of the situation there either. As for the romance, I liked Cole (wish we could have seen more from Lila though!) but I was never that big of fan of Jasper. I don't feel as if we got to know enough of him in the beginning to develop anything for him. :/

    ReplyDelete
  2. I wasn't really looking for anything political in this other than Merle compared what was going on to the persecution of the Jews by Hitler. Your little world is falling apart, someone steps in and figures out a way to separate themselves from everyone else and persecutes the rest. In the book, the "bad guys" had to use drugs to control the people.

    I just really enjoyed the fast ride of the story. But I'll be right there with you in crazy town!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've been interested in this one, I like the idea that Merle is making a political statement in her book. Thanks for the review, I do still want to check it out.

    ReplyDelete

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Glimpse - Claire Merle

Synopsis: In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell. 
Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a ‘normal’ life. But then Jasper disappears.Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not intefere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society and into the pits of the human soul. And as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper's abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe, but she also learns to love as she has never loved before. (From Goodreads)

This is a book that I ultimately have mixed feelings about. On one hand it feels like an important social commentary and on the other hand, as a story, it fell short in a few places. I was so fascinated by the setting and the treatment of separation and classification of mental illnesses. Yet, I never grew to love or care for the main characters and I feel like there are some holes that haven't quite been addressed. I think if you crossed Matched by Allie Condie with Delirium by Lauren Oliver - you'd get The Glimpse.

I really wish I knew more about the politics behind this situtation. Claire Merle does an excellent job at taking a social flaw, putting it under a microscope, expanding it and exposing it. If I'm looking at this book solely in the world that is created, I think it's really well done. I don't know enough about the actual politics, or what's going on in the English government, to comment too much on this. It was interesting to look at what mental illness really is. For a book about mental illness, you don't actually see a lot of it - which is probably part of the point. Kind of - if everyone's crazy, then it's the sane people who become crazy - kind of situation. But it goes beyond mental illness to drug companies and the scary amount of power they have.

Not to mention, I'm pretty sure I'd be considered a crazy in this world. The 3 major mental illnesses are schitzophrenia, anxiety, and depression. But they also consider things like low-self esteem, irrational behavor, impulsive behavior, or even just outbursts to be signs of mental disease. Yeah, I'd be kicked out of the pure community so fast. How those pure people don't die of boredom is beyond me. But even the pures do things like abduct people, shock people, turn them into zombies. You know, the usual. The dyanamics of this world are just so well done. The conspiracy, the lies, the psycosis - all thought provoking.

It's where the story resembles that of Matched that this book loses me. So basically the romances. There's a love triangle in this book, and the relationships that Ana has with both boys feel totally empty. She's bound to Jasper and she adores him, goes to extraordinary lengths for him, but that felt a little undeveloped. Then there's Cole, who's a member of the Enlightenment Project, which basically goes against everything the Pures stand for. Ana winds up mixed up with him, and all they talk about is the society. They never really get a chance to know each other, but all of a sudden they're burning to be together. That connection was just missed. I think this book would have been so much better without all the relationship stuff. There's already plenty of drama, and the moments with the romance just felt empty.

And Ana's father. I don't understand him. I can't figure him out. His wife commits suicide and I can't tell if he is happy or sad about it. I can't tell if he's evil or misguided. I don't like that I don't know what his motives are, what he feels about certain situations. And it's so hard to tell if he's acting of his own volition or if he's just a corporate puppet. It's so frustrating.

The book ends with a set-up into another book, but I don't know if it will be a series or not. I think I'd keep reading, just because there are some questions I want answered. There were some things that were great here, and some that just fell short. I'd recommend this one if you are a fan of dystopia or books with a political statement.

3 comments:

  1. I agree with you about how Claire Merle handled the political and the actual discussion of the mental illnesses, she made a lot of really good points. Unfortunately I'm not part of the UK either so I think some of it fell on deaf ears because I'm not entirely sure of the situation there either. As for the romance, I liked Cole (wish we could have seen more from Lila though!) but I was never that big of fan of Jasper. I don't feel as if we got to know enough of him in the beginning to develop anything for him. :/

    ReplyDelete
  2. I wasn't really looking for anything political in this other than Merle compared what was going on to the persecution of the Jews by Hitler. Your little world is falling apart, someone steps in and figures out a way to separate themselves from everyone else and persecutes the rest. In the book, the "bad guys" had to use drugs to control the people.

    I just really enjoyed the fast ride of the story. But I'll be right there with you in crazy town!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've been interested in this one, I like the idea that Merle is making a political statement in her book. Thanks for the review, I do still want to check it out.

    ReplyDelete