Monday, August 3, 2015

[Review: Glory O'Brien's History Of The Future]

"Glory O'Brien's History of the Future"
Author: A.S. King
Series: None
Pages: 308
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Magical Realism
Date Published: October 14th, 2014
Publisher: Little Brown Book for Young Readers
Format Read: Hardback from the library


In this masterpiece about freedom, feminism, and destiny, Printz Honor author A.S. King tells the epic story of a girl coping with devastating loss at long last--a girl who has no idea that the future needs her, and that the present needs her even more.

Graduating from high school is a time of limitless possibilities--but not for Glory, who has no plan for what's next. Her mother committed suicide when Glory was only four years old, and she's never stopped wondering if she will eventually go the same way...until a transformative night when she begins to experience an astonishing new power to see a person's infinite past and future. From ancient ancestors to many generations forward, Glory is bombarded with visions--and what she sees ahead of her is terrifying: A tyrannical new leader raises an army. Women's rights disappear. A violent second civil war breaks out. And young girls vanish daily, sold off or interned in camps. Glory makes it her mission to record everything she sees, hoping her notes will somehow make a difference. She may not see a future for herself, but she'll do anything to make sure this one doesn't come to pass.

My Thoughts:

An Open Letter To Glory O'Brien's History Of The Future,

You're weird. Like really really weird, but in a way that made me like you a lot. I guess the better word might even be strange. Because that's also what you were. You're about a lot of things all at once. Dealing with death, dealing with coming to terms with your life, and drinking bats so that you accidentally see the future. Thing is, I got you, and I'm glad that I did.

-The White Unicorn

This is my first A.S. King read, and I have to say that I dug it. I have heard that her other stuff is really different, but I have yet to see that for myself. This novel was strange, quirky, and just a straight up trip. King decides to take on regular life issues, but then adds in the fact that her main character drinks the dust of a dead bat in warm beer, and then can see the future. Yerp, it's just as weird as it sounds, but in this case, that's a good thing. 

The fact is that two stories are going on at once. On one hand we have the story of Glory and her life. Her weird relationship with her hippie, commune living, best friend. Who she doesn't really like. The fact that she and her father are still dealing with her mother's suicide, and the fact that she likes to document everything, but doesn't have a life plan of her own. On the other hand we see what Glory sees after she drinks her dead bat. All the sudden we're seeing a contemporary tale, and Glory's dystopian future at the same time. It's a mind trip, but it was a good one. 

Glory is the reason that this book really worked for me. I didn't love the other characters very much, but I think that she made up for it. As she learns about her past, and her future at once, it turns her into a different person. She goes from being a loner feminist, to a girl with a mission. She knows things that no one else does. While her friend sees the cuteness of the world through the bat's eye, Glory sees all the gory details. All of them. 

This is one of those books that you could try to describe for days, but it's so layered and detailed that you have to read it for yourself to understand what's really going on. 

 4 Unicorns = Close to perfect! 

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