Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A. S. King

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glory-obriens-history-of-the-futureGraduating high school senior, Glory O’Brien, drinks the remains of a bat and she starts getting transmissions from people she sees of their past and future generations.

Glory and her Dad have been essentially dormant since her mother, Darla, committed suicide when Glory was four. Now that she has graduated high school, her life no longer has a set path. Glory wakes up to the idea of setting her own direction: “Free yourself. Have the courage” is the message from the bat. King brilliantly shows her gradual movement from being a passenger on a metaphorical train, to being the driver, to, ultimately, getting off the train altogether.

Glory has had very few relationships of any sort. Ellie is her only friend, and Glory doesn’t seem to like her very much – both resenting her having a boyfriend and experimenting with sex, and despising her for  it. As she develops like an exposed photograph (Darla was a photographer, and Glory follows in her footsteps – the book is full of delicious photographic references and metaphors), she reaches out to other people and realizes that nothing is holding her back except herself.

Though Glory’s History of the Future is snappy and quippy, the actual content gathered from her visions is dire and frightening: women in certain states are reduced to the status of breeding machines and a second civil war ensues. Is this a fixed future, or one that can be changed or just a hallucination? There are no clear answers though there is a hint at the end.

This is an extraordinary, disquieting book that settled on me like a gray miasma which I had trouble shaking off. I’d recommend it for older teenagers who would be comfortable with King’s odd, yet winning, combination of big picture scifi and a slice of life of a blooming Everygirl.

 

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2 responses »

  1. Pingback: My Favorite Books of the Year | bibliobrit

  2. Pingback: Still Life with Tornado by A. S. King | bibliobrit

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