Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Review: Maddaddam

Maddaddam is a book I just finished by Margaret Attwood.  Maddaddam is the third book in a trilogy, the preceding books being The Year of the Flood and Oryx and Crake.  Maddaddam is actually the second book in the chronology of the series, as the events of The Year of the Flood and Oryx and Crake take place simultaneously.  I did not read the Year of the Flood, though I had intended to.  I found a copy of Maddaddam at my local library, and I decided I wanted to read it so badly that I could not wait to find a copy of The Year of the Flood.  I'm glad I read it, because it is a good book.  

The title is also a Palindrome, though I do not know why there are extra letter 'd's in it.  Also, the year of April, 2014 has many palindromes in it.  For example, today is 4/15/14, or 41514.  This will happen four more times this month.  Next year it will happen again in May.  But back to the book- palindromes are not important to the story, even though there is one in the title.  

I read the book Maddaddam, and I enjoyed it very much.  I enjoyed it just as much as I enjoyed Oryx and Crake.  There were many different and very likeable characters.  There were many different science fiction ideas, and the storytelling was very compelling.  I think that Margaret Attwood is a fine writer, and I think she has a good editor too, because I don't think the book ever lagged more than a little.  And I like for a book to lag just a little bit sometimes.  

Here is a general spoiler warning:  If you are skimming this article, and not reading it, then you may encounter spoilers and read them before you realize what they are.  I advise reading every sentence in order, because then the natural flow of the writing should give you some warning that a spoiler is coming up.  now I'm going to tell you about some of the characters in the book.

The characters of the Crakers have a strong presence in the book.  They are a lot of fun to read, and they make me smile and laugh.  They are funny, innocent and warm-hearted, and while the story is generally dark, the Crakers do much to make it happy again.  I love the portions of the book that feature one-sided dialogues with them, and I also love the two-sided dialogues.  I love their questions, and their budding mythology, and their potent sense of trust, and the care they bring out in others.  Like Toby.

Toby is a great character, and I think possibly an avatar for the author.  Or a partial avatar anyway.  I think this because I read Margaret Attwood's first book 'The Edible Woman' and Toby reminds me of the narrator of that book.  She is sensitive, neurotic, and deeply caring.  She mothers the Crakers in a really wonderful way.  While reading, sometimes I want to help protect the Crakers because of their loving innocence, and when I read how Toby treats them, I am relieved because she does such a good job.  

Zeb is a great character, and while he brings out the worst in Toby, it is worth it because she loves him.  Also, he is a very important character in the story, and he is a fantastic Han Solo type.  Total potty mouthed rogue, who both drives the action and brings plenty of levity.  As a reader I am comforted by his tough exterior and his soft interior.  While this dynamic is not an original archetype, I think he is written will enough to make it work.

Adam is an interesting character as well, and foil to Zeb.  I don't know if his character figures in heavier in 'The Year of the Flood.'  I think it probably does.  Still, from the way he is written of in the story, I imagine he is always a distant and slightly disconnected character.  Yet with a good heart.  His character is defined by his distance.  While Zeb is defined by his presence and his action.

When reading this story and especially the parts about the Crakers, I find that I am inspired to writing.  I am inspired to writing specifically like the way the Crakers write and talk.  I can't help it, I just love the run-on stream of conciousness that they do, and the deliberateness of their language. And so, I wrote this article in some sense, as a Craker might write.  So if you found my writing strange, that is ok.  I rather like it.  :)  

(crakers don't know about smiley faces, but I think they would like them)

Thank you and Goodnight,


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