Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King

Glory is about to graduate high school... and she has no plans.  The future to Glory is one big question mark.  Will she even have a future??  Her mother committed suicide when she was in preschool, and she can't help but wonder if that's where she's headed too.  She's not suicidal, but the similarities between her and Darla are too much to ignore.  Her best and only friend, Ellie, lives on a commune next door, and Glory kind of can't wait to be free of her.  Then one night something magical happens... Ellie and Glory wake up being able to see the history of the world, past and future.  As far back as the Big Bang and forward to infinity.  What Glory sees is overwhelming, and not in a good way.  Does she really want to live in a world where this is what she has to look forward to?

It's for real guys.... A.S. King is a creative genius.  She made up a story about a girl who drinks a petrified bat and sees where people come from and where they will go.  She also made up a future world where women will have their rights stripped away, a 2nd Civil War will ensue, and a new terrifying leader will emerge.  And somehow she connects all this together to make it MEAN something.  I can't appreciate what she did with this enough.

Having said that, this isn't a book I loved to death.  Usually I like reading about the loner-types, but Glory's form of self-chosen isolation didn't sit well with me.  It was like she thought she was better than everybody else.  And the way she treated her best friend was just wrong.  I wanted to shake her and say, "If you don't like the girl, don't hang out with her".  Every time Ellie would say ANYTHING about herself or her issues, Glory would make comments about how selfish she was.  So okay, maybe SOME of those times Ellie was making it all about her, but some of the time it is about HER.  That's friendship.  It's about you, it's about them, and both of you together.  Deep down I felt like the problem wasn't Ellie, it was that Glory was riding on her high horse.

I absolutely LOVED reading the transmissions Glory would get when she looked at people.  It was so interesting to find out that someone's distant relative will live on Jupiter... or someone's great-great-grandmother was apart of the Underground Railroad.  It reminded me a lot of the passengers' stories in Ask the Passengers, which was my favorite part of that book.

Feminism was a main theme in this book.  I really liked some of it... but some of it was just too much for me.  For instance, I don't need to be made to feel bad because I like to wear makeup and look nice.  Or even sexy.  If it makes me feel good, then it's my prerogative.  I liked that it addressed how women are marketed to and how that affects our perception of ourselves.  I liked that it told a story of  the worth of women as more than just sex objects.  But Glory was pretty judgmental about people who just wanted to be well groomed.

So complaints aside, I really liked the book.  It's so freaking unique and creative and it totally changed my view of what a YA book can be.  It can be anything!!  If there's anything I would change it would be to breathe a little more life into Glory.  She lacked life and passion, which I think was intentional since she was carrying around all that baggage from her mother.  But drinking the bat and seeing all the bad that was to come sort of made her more depressed, not less.  And I wanted her to come to life more than she did.

This book is not going to be for everyone... but I still think everyone should read it.  It shows that YA is more than just swooney romances and paranormal fantasy stuff.

Quotes:  "Free yourself, have the courage" "I am no one special.  You are no one special.  Most people can't handle it."

OVERALL:  A truly unique book in a sea of ordinary.  Glory O'Brien is about to tell you the history of the world, past and present... and you will probably not like what you are going to hear.  I had issues with the way the main character judged people and isolated herself, but the story and the awesomeness of the writing more than made up for those things.  Everyone should give this one a shot.

This Book Contains:

  • A petrified bat
  • Feminism
  • Depression
  • Photography
  • A hippy commune
  • Transmissions of people's ancestors and future lineage
  • Journal entries
  • Crabs- yeah those kind
  • Pennsylvania

My Rating: 3.5/4

How I got this book: Thanks to Little, Brown Books for allowing me to read and honestly review this book.
Date Published: 10/14/2014

1 comment:

  1. second review someone really enjoyed this book but didn't love it. I do like the feminism theme (hoping it is the correct accurate meaning). Still, I like the non contemporary sound of this book. self chosen isolation doesn't make me relate to a character though.

    great review!
    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf