What I’ve been reading…

There’s a place for everything and everyone, you know. That is the mistake they make[…]They think that only certain people have a place. Only certain kinds of people belong. The rest is waste.

~ Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

I’ve been reading a lot lately (which is one of the reasons I haven’t been posting much- all my free time has gone to reading instead of crafting!). I started with some Orson Scott Card that J bought me for Valentine’s day but still need to order the book that was missing from the Alvin Maker series at the book store (OSC needs to get with it and stop being so stuck up about e-books =). So, I moved on to the Hunger Games and from there it’s been more sci-fi teen-ish fiction. The funny thing, though, is that these books actually tackle some pretty relevant issues. I mean yeah the actual writing is a little teen-ish (though not awful by any stretch…I’ve read some pretty awful books in my day), but the actual concepts are pretty interesting.

The first series I jumped into after the Hunger Games, was Matched by Ally Condie. The premise is that there is this world where you don’t have to make any decisions at all. You never actually choose anything from the clothes you wear (everyone wears the same thing), to the food you eat (delivered three times a day to your doorstep), to your job, or even who you marry.

The one I’m reading now, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, depicts a world where love is a disease and scientists have found a cure. The government has made any form of affection a crime and forced all the citizens to receive the cure whether they do so willingly or not.

The ideas in the book are very similar. The government is doing it for the citizens’ own good. Disease and deformities are wiped out, peace and order are maintained with little force, and everyone is happier because of the government’s intervention. Or so it seems. In both stories, the focal point is the heroines awakening to the falseness of her life. Everything she has been brought up to believe is false and ultimately, she must join the “resistence” in order to fight the flawed system.

Both books have been somewhat entertaining and thought provoking, but it wasn’t until tonight when I was reading the second book in the Delirium series that something really hit home. The heroine, Lena, encounters some “invalids” (the term refers to uncureds and those not accepted by society). Throughout the story we have met invalids but to this point these were people who were either born outside of the boundaries of cured society or people who chose to run away to avoid the cure. These people, however, were obviously rejected by society because of their appearance. The people are all deformed: missing limbs, disproportionate features, humpbacked. They have escaped underground to escape death from the governing force. This is obviously supposed to be a shocking and disgusting idea. That all people without physical worth lack any worth at all. However, is that really any different than what is going on in our society today? Ninety percent of all down syndrome babies are aborted. The first question when faced with a possible  in utero trisomy diagnosis is whether or not you would be interested in an abortion. Heck, in the news right now, there is a lot of controversy over whether or not gender selection abortions should be made illegal. According to Planned Parenthood, not only should they be allowed but if you want one, it should be encouraged. A recent undercover operation captured a PP employee giving advice to a “patient” seeking information on acquiring a sex selection abortion. The employee also gave helpful tips on cheating the medicaid system and getting pregnant immediately following an abortion. See the full video on live action’s website.

I wonder how many people are shocked and disgusted when reading these types of things and, yet, these things are actually happening every single day in our own country and so many people not only see nothing wrong with it but see it as “freedom.” Of course the same people who support such “freedom” often also support forced healthcare which kind of seems the opposite of freedom to me but that’s a whole different complaint about our society that I’ll save for another day.

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6 thoughts on “What I’ve been reading…

    • I can’t decide which one I liked better. Both of them are very easy to read. I think Delirium may be slightly more developed. The second book in Matched was not as interesting as the first but so far I like Pandemonium (the second book in the Delirium series). I really found it interesting that all these books about government domination (including The Hunger Games) are coming out right as our government tries to make more and more decisions out of our hands.

  1. I have not read Delirium (though it is on my To Read list!) I LOVED Hunger Games (except maybe the third book, just too different from the first two!)

    In that same line of things, I have to recommend the Uglies series by Scott Westerfield. It’s very similar to what you described in your blog post, but in this series when you turn 16 you go through cosmetic surgery and get to shed your life as an “Ugly” and become a “Pretty.” All Pretties do is party and have fun. The main character is so excited to become Pretty, only to be essentially FORCED to stay “Ugly” because her friend has run away and our heroine must find her and bring her back so that they both can become Pretty. Great series! (I’ve read the first 3, there’s a 4th that’s sort of a continuation, but I have not yet read it.)

    And you’re so right, there’s so many horrors in the world but it’s so easy to just turn off the TV or put down the paper and ignore it 😦 I blame politics.

    • It’s funny- I already had that book as a sample in my ibook library! I just read it and it’s interesting so that may be the next one I download =)

  2. All of these books you are describing depict dystopias. One of the early books on that theme was Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. If you haven’t read it, it’s fascinating and was very prophetic about where our society was going: the separation of sex from procreation, virtual reality, drug culture, etc. 1984 is another one that depicts the increasingly draconian central government and the distortion of words to manipulate people. The phrase “dropping down the memory hole” comes from this book. I really recommend both of those. They are chilling in their accuracy.

    • I’ve read both Brave New World and 1984 multiple times and found both very interesting. The disturbing thing about books like these is that the ideas seem possible for the future especially with the way our government and society are heading right now. I’ll have to go back and read those again though since it’s been a while.

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