Showcase for the beauty of life
Love, a four letter word that invokes fear and disgust in the minds of every civilized American. It is the deadliest of all diseases and brings with it only pain, loss and heartache. Having witnessed first-hand the disastrous symptoms of the deliria, Lena Haloway eagerly counts the days until her eighteenth birthday, when she will be cured. Then she meets Alex, an invalid from the wilds, and everything she thought she knew about the disease, the government, society and even her past is called into question.
Wow! I can’t remember when last I read a book this emotionally charged. The entire novel is like a showcase for the beauty of life. The stark contrast between the cured and uncured civilians is spectacular. The sheer splendor of Ms. Oliver’s words and descriptions makes every mundane act of living a piece of art and poetry. Very few ‘pictures’ resonate with me for any length of time after reading a novel, but I cannot get the vision of the Portland bay at sunset out of my mind!
The relationship between Lena and her best friend Hana is definitely one of the highlights of this novel. It is so wonderfully natural and Hana’s vibrant character leaps off the pages, into your face. Lena’s character growth is beautifully developed, her habits are endearing, and her relationship with Alex is exciting and lovely at once.
There are so many underlying morals and themes in this novel, but for me, the greatest is the warning against apathy. What an eye opener it is to imagine this world without love.
The ending – so tragic and yet real. I take my hat off to an author who is willing to remain true to her story this way. I can’t wait to read the sequel! This series goes into my ‘Favorite series of all time’ shelf!