Sunday, February 26, 2012

Review: Pure by Julianna Baggott

By Julianna Baggott
February 8, 2012
Grand Central Publishing, 448 pgs
Amazon Description:We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.

Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it's his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.

When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again."

So. I thought about it a lot while I was reading this novel and I can't, in good conscience, break this book into simpler elements of plot, character, and writing style. 

This novel has to be taken in as an experience, so I'm unable to seperate any one part from another. This is one I couldn't gulp down in a single sitting like I do with other novels. I had to nibble at it, a little bit at a time. To be honest, this was tough to read at times. It is extremely intense, disturbing in its visceral description of post-nuclear detonation life. Every character outside of the dome has deformities, burns, missing limbs, mutations, even pieces of objects and people they were around at the time of the detonations, fused to their bodies. They consider these to be marks of pride for having survived. The descriptions are so deeply disturbing that it was difficult at the start for me to get from page to page. Don't get me wrong- I enjoyed this novel immensely. But it is NOT an easy read. Baggott's writing is lyrical, and yet clinical enough to force you to visualize each grotesque detail. This is a a dirty, gritty, and potentially realistic post-apocalyptic thriller. Contrasting this world is Partridge's world inside the dome. It is sterile and almost surreal in its dystopia. In the end, the novel is something you must read. You'll love it, then you'll hate it, then you'll love it again and by the last page you won't have the answers you're looking for. So, like me, you'll just have to read the second novel Fuse coming next year, fingers crossed and hoping for the best.


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