Thursday, June 17, 2010

Nomansland review

In Foundland, there are no men. Women run the land and have created a society that they believe is perfect...and protected from men, their enemy.  Life is difficult and filled with strict rules, hard work, and lots of secrets, and when Keller and several other girls come across a secret place filled with items of the past, they are no longer certain whether Foundland is as perfect and honorable as they have been raised to believe.

"We Foundlanders will save ourselves and replenish this earth. Look what we have done with what we have. Our orchards, our fields, our unviolated borders. We have built a world for ourselves against all adversity. We have survived Tribulation for generations. We have rid ourselves of all deviants, the deviant men who would have otherwise ruled us. We have foiled attempts by the enemy to invade our territories, the enemy who would penetrate and subdue us, extinguish our very being. Be proud, my women! Be proud! We alone have been charged with healing the earth!" (pg.163 from ARC)

High heels, make-up, and magazines are unknown and confusing objects to these girls, but they bring up questions and concerns as to why they must live the way they do. Why are men so bad? Why is life so dull and colorless? A whole lot of introspection going on here. The pace picked up quite a bit around page 130, but it took a little while to get there.

Built up to be a great dystopian novel, I was a bit disappointed in the slow pacing, but came to realize that author Lesley Hauge wasn't necessarily writing an action/thriller, she was writing something more thoughtful and intelligent, with characters that had a lot in their heads, though not always a lot to say.

Keller was an incredibly melancholy character, but she had a lot of great thinking moments. Like this one, after finding a house filled with found objects from the past:

"And I also know why I feel this overwhelming sadness when I am inside it. It should have been a place of life, and yet there is no life here. Just dead objects, one room after another, too strange, too many to name, in rooms that once must have held voices, the smell of cooking, maybe laughter, maybe song." (pg. 134 from ARC)

She believes in the rules, as they're all she's ever known and is very reluctant to not follow them. She's one of the first female characters, in dystopian/action novels such as these, that isn't completely strong-willed and ready to fight against leaders. Keller accepts her life, though not always satisfied with it.

Definitely enjoyed when the girls were discovering objects from the past. Through the author's descriptions, the reader is able to guess what item has been found, including mascara, stiletto heels, and a bathing suit. All absolute unknowns to these girls, though very common in our society.

Overall rating: 3 out of 5
So, all in all, a little slow moving, but worth it. 

Lesley Hauge
256 pages
Young Adult
Henry Holt
June 2010
Review copy received from publisher

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