Title: The Children of Men
Author: P.D. James
Summary: In this astonishing novel, an entirely new departure in her writing, P.D. James imagines a future England where human infertility has spread like a plague. By year 2021 no babies have been born for a quarter of a century anywhere in the inhabited world. The very old are being driven to despair and suicide, and the final generation of the young are beautiful but violent and cruel. The middle-aged are trying to sustain normality, under the absolute rule of Xan Lyppiatt, the charismatic dictator and Warden of England.
Theo Faron is an Oxford Historian and cousin of the Warden, living in a solitary, self-regarding life in this ominous atmosphere. By chance at Evensong in Magdalen College he meets a young woman, one of a small group who seek to challenge the power of the Warden’s regime. Theo’s life is dramatically changed and he is drawn into almost unimaginable horrors. . . .
My Rating: 4.5/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: Anyone who has seen the movie, is likely looking at my rating and screaming at me why? Well, lets just say, this is one of those very very RARE cases, where the movie is by far, WAY better then the book. About a million times better than then book. There I said it. I can’t believe I said it, but I have. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Why do I say such a thing? Well for starters, the book and movie are completely different. The only thing they share is dystopian world that’s infertile. And some of the characters have the same names, and a woman is now pregnant. And only in the last ninety pages, that there is any running/hiding due to the pregnancy. So the rest of the story, was prolonged and out drawn story lines, where virtually nothing happens. A group tries to up heave the government, but they do nothing but hand out some leaflets and blow up a few plank. Which is a lazy and creative way for the author to write 150 pages, before the story actually begins, I get the idea she was trying to show the reader, but really, either have your characters fight against the government and actually mean it or don’t do it. I got the feeling they were just doing it for the sake of it. They didn’t seem to care much about their “cause” if they had, they would have been less lazy about it.
But that is just the beginning. The movie, for those who have seen it, sends such a powerful message, it’s filled with emotion, and haunting parallels, that are absent from the book. The book has no emotion what so ever. The characters are drones, who just live life day after day, and a lot of their way of thinking and events that happens in the book is highly, unbelievable. For one, the live in a society where criminals are heavily policed, to the point theft means your sent to a exile Island, for life, where people would prefer death, than to be sent there, yet the Omagas, the youngest generation, in their late twenties and thirties, run around killing people, and getting away with everything? REALLY? I mean, either it’s a policed state, or it’s a place where crime is easy to get away with. The author states one thing yet shows the other.
Another major issue was that her descriptions, made me want to throw the bloody book across the room. If it wasn’t a library book, I might have. She goes out on these long tangents to describe useless things, such as details how soup from tin cans was made and combined together. SOUP! Really? Unless the soup contained the answer to infertility, then why go into such extensive detail about it? I’m one who likes descriptiveness, when an author explains the setting of a mountain backdrop, or something useful, but Soup….seriously? There are a lot of examples I could give about the pages and pages devoted to detailed information, that in no way, further the plot, but it’s far to painful to repeat.
The author also goes into great detail about Theo’s life and back story, which adds nothing to the story, except he and his cousin, are not close, and he has no ability to have emotion. That is, until the last thirty pages of the book. Which is another major plot hole, how can someone who for the entire book, not care about anything, who has no ability to have emotion, I mean, he didn’t care when he ran over his own fifteen-month old daughter, (actually, he seamed more concerned, although he claimed it wasn’t the case, that his wife didn’t say to him, it wasn’t his fault, the actual act of killing her) but suddenly, after having a loveless life, falls in love with a woman, and is fascinated and in love with the baby, and found religion, after he never really thought of it before. A lot of other reviewers have noted the same issue, about Theo’s magically turn around. One page he’s an ass, the next he’s not.
Overall a terrible book. Great premise, bad execution. The movie version is by far better, both the Director and Screen writer deserve awards, for turning the book into that masterpiece.
Would I recommend it to read: No. Read something more worth your time. Don’t waste it on this. There is plenty of dystopian literature out there, that has good quality writing and story to it. This, is just…… not worth it. Watch the movie instead, if you haven’t yet. And I can’t believe I just said that, but I have.
What to read next: Oryx and Crake, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World are a few titles instead. But this list is more of, what to read instead of, not read next. Trust me.
Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 999 Challenge, Support Library Challenge, A - Z Challenge, New Author Challenge