Tuesday, February 8, 2011


     You know it's going to be a great book when 8th graders are stealing each other's books to read it.  It took me a while to get into Gone, but if I were 15, I would have loved it. 
     Gone had an interesting plot line, but I was bored through the first half of the book.  The non-stop action wasn't enough to make me care about any of the characters.  I couldn't even keep track of most of them because they were only superficially developed.  Since I didn't feel invested in the characters, the epic battle seemed contrived.  Stephen King did a much better job of portraying the same battle in The Stand because I cared intensely about the characters.  Several characters died in Gone, and Michael Grant tried to make their deaths seem noble, but I just felt indifferent. 
     The evil controlling the book is an unknown force in the pit.  Since we do not truly understand this force, I didn't feel scared or intrigued or disgusted.  Instead it made everything seem hopeless.  If fate controls us and evil is unavoidable, why continue to fight? 
     Throwing man-eating coyotes into a day care with babies was cruel and did nothing to lead the plot forward.  It was a sad commentary on our society.  We have taught our children well.  Left alone they revert into us and willingly kill one another to survive. 
     The only character with a conscience for killing a girl becomes half asphalt and nearly unable to move by the end of the novel.  The character with the guiltiest conscience has the coolest weapon at the end.  He has been rewarded with nearly unlimited power.  It's not hard to see which character the kids will identify with in the novel.
      Okay, so that is my adult take on Gone.  As a kid, it is fast-paced, violent, and gritty.  Many of the characters develop superhero powers and use them to battle one another in huge battles that tear the town apart.  I would love it - especially if I had recently read other dystopian literature lately - like The Hunger Games.  As an adult, read The Stand

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