This was the second book for the month of July in Booksandquills End of the World Book
Club. As you know, I really enjoyed The Midwich Cuckoo’s by John Wyndham, so I was expecting a lot from this book for two reasons. Firstly, it was a pick for this book club where all the other picks have been delightful reads. Secondly, it is loosely based on The Midwich Cuckoo’s, which I loved. I should know better by now than to get my hopes up because they’re always disappointed.
The start of the book was promising. Instead of taking place in a village, Midwich is an apartment building whose inhabitants live in relative poverty that aren’t really expected to go anywhere in life. Instead of following a middle aged man who isn’t affected by what’s going on because he was outside of the sphere of influence of the Day Out and can’t have children, it follows a group of teenaged girls who are pregnant. Instead of a Day Out it’s a Night Out. Instead of all the women getting impregnated, only four girls were. Other than that, the books start out being fairly similar.
For all it’s faults, and there are many, the novel tackles a lot of tough topics like rape, abusive relationships, poverty, alcoholism, eating disorders, and mob mentalities in a relatively good way. Relatively being the key word there.
The biggest problem I had with this book, similar to the problems I had with Arthur Golden’s novel Memoirs of a Geisha, was the difficulty that male authors often have with talking about sex and pregnancy from a women’s perspective. I didn’t find that all the discomforts of pregnancy were really there, nor the terror. Furthermore, the pregnancies were drastically accelerated but no one around the girls seemed to notice.
Some of the weaker points in the book include:
- One of the pregnant girls was significantly older than the other three so that split up the story quite a bit and there were never anything written from her perspective. She was a nurse and had fertility issues in the past, so much so that her long term significant other left her, which was a point that I found was considerably played down.
- The only male perspective offered in the novel was a garbage person who didn’t understand anything that was going on enough to appreciate what was happening until it was too late. He was forgiven far too easily for everything that he did and was fairly abusive towards one of the other characters.
- The perspective switched too frequently. Although I love hearing from different character’s points of view, switching three or four times midchapter makes it hard to follow the story and who’s pov you’re in.
- The utter lack of support networks for all the character’s except for one.
Needless to say that I did not enjoy this book. I would say that I did, in fact, dislike this book. I rated it a 2 out of 5. It was difficult to read and made me feel highly uncomfortable and will likely be purged from my shelf in the coming year.