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I came to this book having read Pamela Sargent's wonderful, disturbing and thought-provoking "The Shore of Women." I thought I would explore more in the feminine dystopia genre and see that other authors could offer.
What a disappointment. Compared to Sargent's book, which had compelling characters and a coherent narrative set in a dystopia built on inherent logic, this novel can only be called infantile. The characters are paper thin, the plot absurd but worst of all the treatment of the serious issue of slavery is cursory and disrespectful to the brutal reality of real life slavery, both historically and today. The "love" between the characters was more like a junior high crush. We are to believe that a man who has spent his entire life shackled indoors with no human contact can start mooning like an 8th grader with the President's daughter, who has been brought up to regard all men as scum and sub-human. "It sucks," he says at one point, describing his predicament.
I would recommend this book for 3rd graders because that is its intellectual level, but I'm sure there are many, many better books 3rd graders could and should read.