I was going to review Kristen Simmons’ Article 5 over at SBR today but… well, you ever read a book that twigged your brain? I mean, one that really, really made you sit up and think “What the hell is this writer on?”
As an author, I know how hard it is to write a book. To spend all that effort, energy and time into crafting characters and a world that you completely love. It’s an adventure, and it literally breaks your heart when someone tears it apart. Someone you don’t know, someone who you never even heard of (of course, this postulates that someone you have heard of ripping your book is gentler… this is false. It actually hurts more when a well-known author literally says “Dafuq is dees?”)
I can wrap my head around a dystopian society in the US. I can, really. I can suspend my disbelief that much. I can even accept that some major points of the US would revert to ultra-conservative and begin to ban any and all individual thought. Again, looking at society right now, I can see this happening with some ease.
HOWEVER… that being said, I cannot buy into the idea that all of the US (save for a very tiny, less than 1% population) will accept this change and go along with this. I cannot accept that even the most conservative of religious nuts is going to allow a government to take their weapons. Not now, not anymore. Especially if some unnamed agent attacks and destroys major cities along the coasts.
(I can already hear people screaming “But Reagan approved an assault weapons bans!” to which I reply “No, he was against fully automatic weapons unless they were already owned and registered. Plus, this was after he was out of office. Didn’t want to hurt his reelection chances.”)
I’ve never had to put down a book that many times because I kept shaking my head (I had to put down Ghost by John Ringo six times, for instance… this one shattered that record by a lot). The setting was just… wrong. But that still doesn’t seem to compare to the other feeling I was getting while reading this book. The thought that, according to everything that seems to be popular and selling today, feminism is dead.
I couldn’t help but feel like Simmons’ character Ember is the most useless waste of space I’ve ever come across. She literally weeps, screams, cries, cowers, hides, and relies upon her ex-boyfriend to protect her once she finally does make her escape. Then, for some reason or another (this one bugs me a lot), she trusts almost everyone they meet, leading them to even more trouble and allowing the authorities to easily track where they are running to (oh, and this book also has a very efficient government that can find anybody in a matter of hours across an entire region with nothing other than eyewitness accounts and paper forms… ha. haha. ahem). This is not a strong and independent girl. This is a cowering, helpless little wannabe princess.
This takes me back to Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series. Yes, I do hate on that series a lot, because the lead character is nothing more than a girl with a secret, but otherwise is helpless and waits on the boys to do the rescuing and whatnot. The victim mentality is something that I really, really hate. Why spread a message that seems to state that a girl should never be proactive? Why should a girl/woman wait around to be rescued? Why isn’t the girl/woman doing the rescuing?
I’ve hashed out my dislike for one of the main characters in Revolution as well for this very reason. The last two books of The Hunger Games trilogy does this. And Stephanie Meyer’s gets a lot of crap from me about this, too. Why are publishers and producers forcing this “poor little me” female characters onto society? Why pigeonhole them so? Why give so few sterling role models?
I know that women are the majority readers of romance, but c’mon. Little girls do not start out life thinking “If only I can read a book where the heroine is being constantly fought over by two gorgeous hunks.” If this is your definition of feminism, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. Most readers I know pick up a book to be entertained. Look at a college required reading list some time and then tell me just how many people would have picked up those books to read for pleasure. I don’t think it’s going to be many, though I can hear the few hipsters who stumble across this saying “I read it before it was required reading.”
If anybody has any ideas about why publishers and television are doing this, I’d love to hear it. Hopefully this happens before I lose my cool and start really flipping out about the lost woman of the modern society.