Sunday, May 22, 2011
The Declaration by Gemma Malley
There is nothing I like better than having students come and talk to me at recess about books. Even better when they are grade 8 boys who I didn't even teach last year, but who I have a relationship with through reading. Add to that a long weekend where I could spend a day reading without feeling too much guilt and I'm in heaven. All those things happened this week and The Declaration is the book that came out of our conversation. One of the boys suggested that I read this one, and he had it in his bag for me to borrow.
The Declaration is set in the year 2140 and in the past, scientists discovered a cure for aging and death. As long as people take the Longevity drugs they can ward off disease, illness and death. The only catch is that in order to take the drugs you have to agree to not have any children because the world is becoming over populated. Some people choose the 'opt-out' program which means you don't get the drugs, but you can have one child. This isn't really a popular choice though as there really aren't many places for children anymore. Then there are the members of society who decide to have more than one child- their 'surplus' children are hidden away from the world, unless they are caught.
Suplus Anna is that child. She was taken from her family when she was two years old and has been taught to hate her parents and to hate her own existence. All Anna wants to do is pay her debt to society for being alive. This means she works very hard to be perfect at everything she does, all in hopes of someday working for a legal family as a domestic helper and to minimize the impact her life has on the world.
Then, a boy is brought to the school she stays at. Peter is unlike anyone Anna has ever met. At times she is drawn to him and other times she wants to never see him again. Peter challenges her very belief system and makes Anna realize that maybe she isn't a waste and that there is more to dream of in her life.
The concept of this book is pretty cool, it's a different twist on population control and yet somewhat similar to the series Among the Hidden. I found at times that the book skipped over some pretty major parts, I wanted to know more about Anna and Peter and how they changed through the book. There is a sequel to the story, which I didn't rush out immediately and pick up, but it was a pretty good read.