Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future
I don’t quite know what I was expecting when I picked this title: I was hoping for something unusual with a solid character that was able to overcome the massive losses and see a point in her future. I don’t believe that I expected the often very strange twists, nor the wonderful depictions of the magical realism that appeared in Glory’s visions. I did find that there were often “sketches” of a dystopian vision without a clear connection to the ‘how’, and while the injections were lovely in description and intent, that lack kept them a bit flat.
I enjoyed, although I don’t feel particularly connected to Glory in any way: there is a remove in her character that keeps everyone at arm’s length, and just at the point you hope to cross over, the proselytizing prose regarding feminism and women’s issues bounces in carrying a banner, beating a drum and completely removing the tentative connection. And we can talk about the self-described feminist bent that both she and her father claim to have: but neither seemed particularly connected to the ideology, beyond mouthing the words.
Now, being a woman I should be all for the focus on women’s issues and the clearly defined feminist sentiments: but the writing and the frequent insertions did just the opposite. I dislike the ‘preachy’ tone that such an overlay into every issue presents, give readers some credit for seeing a potential problem in the ‘world as she is envisioning it in the future” and allow them to see the pitfalls and inequalities. The book quickly became ‘one note, one issue” for me, and the potential to see Glory realize her value and potential became a trail of breadcrumbs after the birds came through: difficult to pull together in a cohesive unit.
What I had hoped would bring some new perspective in an engaging way became difficult to enjoy, with many moments of “oh again” as the story went off into yet another discussion about the impact of a decision / situation on women. There is a current ‘lack’ of women who will identify themselves as “feminists”, particularly in the YA and coming of age teens: or they ‘qualify’ it by discounting the stronger and more rabid voices of the movement. I can’t see this book making any inroads to changing the connotation of the word feminist, nor accounting for any reader’s ability to see, recognize and make conclusions about inequities in situations.
Narration as provided by Christine Lakin was solidly well-paced and a pleasant listen. Most importantly, she did not over-reach in pitch, tone or emotion while still presenting Glory’s moments of visions with the appropriate mix of awe and questions that must have been in Glory’s own heart and head.
While I’ve heard good things about this author’s work, this AudioBook, and find that pacing, prose and even moments of relationships remembered and developing are wonderful, the story really did nothing for me.
Stars: Overall 2.5 Rounded Narration 3 Stars 2
Title: Glory O'Brien's History of the Future
Author: A.S. King
Genre: Young Adult
Narrator: Christine Lakin
Published by: Hachette Audio
Published on: 14 October, 2014
Source: Hachette Audio
Audio Length: 7 Hours: 5 minutes
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Would you try to change the world if you thought it had no future?
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 everything in her power to make sure this one doesn’t come to pass.
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.
A copy of this title was provided via Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.