Review Blog

Aug 28 2012

The Glimpse by Claire Merle

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Faber and Faber, 2012. ISBN 978-0-571-28053-7.
This dystopian novel is set in a not too distant future London, after the devastation of the petrol wars when all the population is genetically tested to determine their predisposition to mental illness. Those designated 'Pures' live in luxurious gated communities while the rest, the 'Crazies' live as best they can, systematically drugged to keep them compliant. Ana is a Pure but discovers her mother committed suicide so must have been mentally ill therefore Ana must also carry the mental illness gene and her life of privilege is under threat. If she can pass repeated tests for signs of mental weakness and form a bond relationship with a 'Pure' boy Jasper before she is 18 she will be allowed to live in the community. When Jasper is abducted while meeting someone from an outside resistance movement she sets out to find him.
Upper middle school girls will enjoy the strong female character, her love interests and the copious details about her luxury lifestyle; there is even a 'Joining planner' to work out the details of her big day! However the political subjugation of a population to maintain the privilege of the few does not seem to bother Ana, all her motivation is self centred and she never develops a social conscience. I also had issues with the novel's depiction of mental illness and the abuse perpetrated in the asylum seemingly just so the main character can show how strong she is. The Glimpse may be positioning itself to continue in a sequel where these might be addressed but on its own I had problems with this book.
Sue Speck

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