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A Reader of Fictions: Crazy - Gnarls Barkley

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Crazy - Gnarls Barkley

The Glimpse

Author: Claire Merle
Pages: 300
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Source: Faber & Faber via NetGalley

Description from Goodreads:
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 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.

First Sentence: "Sometimes, when Ana hovered on the edge of sleep, she heard the patter of feet along the school corridor; she felt her best friend Tamsin close by—a near, warm presence like the imprint on a bed recently slept in; she saw the Board's saloon car pulling up outside the front of school, a white envelope glowing through one of their leather cases, whispering her name, her disease."

Unsurprisingly, I was really looking forward to The Glimpse, because of that magic word dystopia, and because I seriously love the cover. It's both simple and fantastic, even if it does seem much more suited to the plot line of Delirium. My hopes definitely went down as I saw some reviews rolling into the blogosphere. None of the reviews I saw were overly positive, and I was pretty bummed. Still, I determined to read it myself, because I do try to read all of the dystopias.

Anyway, I actually liked The Glimpse, although I can see why it might have given other readers some trouble. What pulled me through the book was definitely the concept, which was something pretty new to me on the dystopian front, always a plus. In this future, the world has been divided up into the haves and the have-nots, only the dividing line is not race or wealth or attractiveness: it's sanity.

Society is divided up into Pures, those without any genetic markers indicating a disorder (ex. depression, bipolar, ADHD, etc.) and Crazies. The Pures live within beautiful communities and have pretty much everything they need. Their society isn't much different from ours, although they now get married through an antiquated process called Joining.

I found the whole division based on mental stability entirely fascinating. Imaginging society spazzing out about the ever-increasing number of people suffering from some sort of mental disorder is not really a stretch at all. That could definitely be something that a despotic government might want to control. Basically, this could be a way of helping Darwinism along by trying to get the healthiest people to stick together and procreate.

Though I really liked that, the characters never really felt real to me at all. I wasn't especially invested in them. I wanted to know what happened, but I didn't particularly care whether the main couple made it work or if they won out against the bad guys. They weren't terrible characters. Really, on paper, I should have liked Ana, but...meh. Whereas in a lot of books, the dialog is what makes the book move along for me, in this one it was definitely the longer paragraphs of description here.

Perhaps what distanced me from the characters was due to some weakness in the plotting. I often felt like the characters, mostly Ana, made completely illogical decisions. Not in a real life, people do stupid things kind of way, but in a wtf just happened kind of way. Ana would think things over and decide that the obvious choice in some situation was X, and I would be sitting there going, "Why would you ever do that in response to this situation? FACEPALM."

To sum up, the world building was really cool, but I thought everything else could use some more work. Despite thebook's limitations, I do think I will probably be reading the sequel. This one definitely isn't for everyone, but, if you like the premise, you may want to give it a go.

Favorite Quote: "'How can anyone prove they're not insane to people that are?'"

"And when you're out there 
Without care, 
Yeah, I was out of touch 
But it wasn't because I didn't know enough 
I just knew too much 

Does that make me crazy?"

Remember: Every comment on a post during Dystopian August is an entry to win one of fourteen dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels IF you've filled out the form from this post.

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Blogger Lilian said...

Damn, you churn out reviews like a machine! HOW AM I SUPPOSE TO COMMENT FAST ENOUGH (because I like to be the first commenter)?

I was interested in The Glimpse when I first read its synopsis off Netgalley. But I admit all the mehh reviews I've read for it dissuaded me to pick it up in the end (plus I wasn't too fond of the cover either). What sold it for me was the concept of judging people based on their tendency to be a certain kind of person or to do a certain thing, which reminded me of the philosophy behind Minority Report.

It's also one of the few dystopias that sound like an actual dystopia according to the classic definition: government tries to attain utopia, but it backfires.

And I actually might agree to this society...if I turn out to be a Pure. If not, I guess I will be wrecking havoc. If you tell me I'm crazy, I'll show you crazy. *flips tables*

As much as I adored Pandemonium, seeing Delirium brought up just made me wince. That and the long descriptions...AHHHHH! Yep, love stories aren't my thing.

"Not in a real life, people do stupid things kind of way, but in a wtf just happened kind of way"

one comment down, 2 more to go *reads your next review*

August 18, 2012 at 6:54 AM  
Blogger Alessandra said...

I read this last spring. I sort of liked it. Only "sort of" because I kept picturing myself, as well as my extended family, roughing it out as Crazies. Not pretty! And the characters kept making wrong decisions.

I don't think I will be reading the next book in the series. When I finished the galley, I thought the story ended there and I felt glad.

August 18, 2012 at 4:52 PM  
Blogger Bekka said...

I had no idea that this was even a dystopia. To be honest, I just discounted it as a contemporary based on the cover.

On another note, if this world comes true, you and I are screwed.

August 18, 2012 at 6:54 PM  
Blogger aLilLacey said...

The cover is unique and i agree the plot is a fascinating idea. I would consider reading it just for the sake of that. And agreed you are a crazy fast reviewer!

August 19, 2012 at 12:54 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Well, to be fair, I read this book a couple months ago and just scheduled it for now.

I really liked the concept of the book. It definitely has some issues, but I enjoyed reading it. *shrug*

Woo! Actual dystopia!

I rather suspect I might end up in the crazies for my bad attitude or something.

From what I recall, this one wasn't heavily romantic, though there was some. I just meant the cover doesn't fit it.


August 19, 2012 at 10:39 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yup. I agree. I think I liked it a bit more than you, but I definitely was irritated many times by the characters making stupid decisions but obviously thinking they were good logical decisions. No, not at all, folks!

I'm uncertain as well. *shrug*

August 19, 2012 at 10:46 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

The cover does look like a contemp, but it's still way better than the first cover they had for it. They could have made it look like a mental institution or something creepy like that.

Damn right.

August 19, 2012 at 10:48 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

If you're intrigued by the plot, I definitely think it's worth reading. The concept is a very fascinating one, and I could totally imagine it as disorders are on the rise!


August 19, 2012 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger Lilian said...

Or...did you? *dun dun duuunnnn*

Bad attitude? I suppose I would be joining you. I guess they can't have people ALL the flipping tables. What happens to the crazies anyway? Are they killed off? Sent to a penal colony? Left in an asylum? Thrown out in the ocean?

OK. *runs to Twitter* Oh fudge. Wrong account. *runs to Hootsuite*

August 19, 2012 at 5:30 PM  
Blogger Christy Maurer said...

When I first started reading the plot it sort of made me think of Matched (not the crazy people part lol). It does sound like an interesting concept, so maybe I'll read this one. Or I'll make my daughter read it first :)

August 19, 2012 at 5:44 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Sounds like a bonus of parenthood. :-p

August 20, 2012 at 8:29 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

No, the crazies live outside the walls in worse conditions. It could be way worse. Well, actually, there are institutions too. Now that I think about it, that's a bit odd. I guess it depends on how high-functioning they are whether they get to live freely in squalor.

August 20, 2012 at 8:30 AM  
Blogger Lilian said...

Interesting. So they spend money to take care of these people that will never get to rejoin their society?
So people learn a lesson when they visit the asylum? O_O
Really? Why would you keep a bunch of people right outside your walls who could possible extract revenge?

August 27, 2012 at 3:32 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

I don't think they spend much money on the people outside the walls. It's not very nice out there.

No clue.

Because it seemed like a good idea at the time?

August 27, 2012 at 9:38 AM  
Blogger M.A.D. said...

Parenthood certainly has its bonuses ... if you're not *crazy* before you have kids, you sure are after. I haven't been in my right mind since '82 ;P

August 31, 2012 at 10:29 PM  
Blogger M.A.D. said...

Back to the book though, I think I'd like to give The Glimpse a try sometime. All my birth siblings (17 of us) and I suffer from depression & anxiety (thank you, sucky DNA!)so Glimpse would be intriguing, to say the least lol

August 31, 2012 at 10:38 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

The concept really worked for me. Some people had issues with the writing, but I was okay with it. If it's not working for you, though, you might want to DNF it.

September 4, 2012 at 8:54 AM  

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