Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Review of Children of Men

Author: PD James
Published in 2002
Thickness: 256 pages
Personal rating: 3 stars

In short

In the year 2021, the world is a bleak place where all human males have become sterile, and no child can ever be born again. Civilization is giving way to cruelty and despair, and historian Theo Faron has nearly resigned himself to apathy. Then he is asked to join a band of revolutionaries--a move that may hold the key to humanity's survival. (www.goodreads.com)

My two cents

Children of men was a multilayered read which invoked oddly combined pleasure and frustration. 
The main theme of the novel was one that interested me from the start. Which means the day I saw the trailer for the movie adaptation. Me and my husband watched the movie and were impressed, which lay the foundation to read the novel one day. 
And that is now a done task. 

The possibility of our human race to be or to get extinct is a theme that fascinates and terrifies people all over the world, it's a tale told many times over, starring aliens, diseases, climatic catastrophes, outer space debris, or whatever our combined creative minds come up with. We see ourselves as nearly unconquerable, yet we are afraid of the big "IF". 
What will happen when such an event happens? Will society return to chaos and will we let the inner beasts loose, or will we go to the end civilized and accepting? 
Children of men deals with the slow decay of mankind, simply because men aren't furtile anymore. No more babies means the end of the world as we know it. 
It focuses on the thoughts of one man in particular, Theodore, the cousin of the Warden of England (some kind of military coupe of the monarchy has taken place). He is gently dragged into the company of a group of revolutionaries, which takes him further then he could've expected and which sets him on a path he could never have foreseen. 
Along with them, he begins to see sense in their arguments and sees the ugly truth behind the beautiful facade, when suddenly a fact is revealed that will turn his world upside down.

As I mentioned before, this was both pleasure and frustration. The pleasure came from the story and the deeper meaning of it. The frustration came mainly from the author's tendency to go on and on. Theodore's thoughts were sometimes a bit hard to follow and I have yet to discover the need for his frequent nostalgic ponderings. Was this to sever his emotional ties with his cousin, so the decision he made in the end could be made without a hefty conscience to deal with? Or did we need to see the human side of someone portrayed a savior and a tyrant at the same time? Maybe we needed to see how Theodore and his cousin grew up and his silent protest against his cousin when he decided he would step out of the counsil? 
Anyway, it was a bit much and distracted me from the main thread in this novel. 

All in all, it's a good read but not the best out there, hence the three star rating.

1 comment:

  1. I've seen the very end of the movie, but I never knew it was a book until I saw it on your blog.
    I didn't hear very many rave reviews about the movie either... I don't know if I would want to pick this one up or not.