Bumped by Megan McCafferty
I know I usually post a blurb, but here's my summary on Bumped:
Okay, so Bumped is a 'dystopian' set in 2035 where a virus has prevented every person over the age of eighteen from reproduction. (This book totally reminded me of another book about children who are "rented" because a virus has wiped out the ability to reproduce. Unfortunately, I've forgotten the name of this book D: If anyone remembers, leave a comment!) Anyways, the population is obviously declining, so teens are hired to have sex with the intent of producing a baby that will then be given away for adoption to older couples who can no longer reproduce. It is established that there is flourishing trade in surrogacy, considered accepted and praiseworthy even! The story follows the lives of two identical twins, separated at birth as they struggle with society's latest (unreasonable) demand.
A few confusing things that took away from the overall value of the theme:
1. The relationship between the twins, Melody and Harmony (cliche much?) feels very contrived as most of the book was focused on the message and details rather than the character development. McCafferty appears to have become so enamored of their purpose that they lose their identity as people.
2. I found Bumped to be a highly sexual read. A book that deals with the question of reproductive choice is of necessity sexual. Added to that are the numeral sexual references peppering the conversation of every character in the book. It's almost horrifying how casually these teenagers accept the idea of sex and toss around words like "pro boner" and "hornergy" and "everythingbut" (as in everything but sex). No doubt this is the point that McCafferty is trying to make, but I'm not really sure how positive this portrayal could be to teens in a messed up society...
3. This book isn't a dystopian. A dystopia is 'a society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease, repressive social control systems and a lack or total absence of individual freedoms and expressions.' There is no more squalor, human misery or overcrowding than there is in any normal society. Only one major disease (there is a HIV/AIDS vaccination). There are no overt repressive social control systems, no lack of individual freedoms, no violence. There is no mandate that says all teenagers MUST get pregnant.
4. Religion. One of the twins, Harmony, is a Christian. Throughout the book, McCafferty respects Christianity, even using Bible verses to assist in the message of the book. However, there are some holes in her plot. Melody commits adultery even though McCafferty stresses that Melody is a Christ loving, church-attending, good do-er, etc...later on there are some gay issues as well... I won't say any more; I'm revealing too much ;)
5. The ending was not staged very well. The climax was very late in the book, therefore the ending felt rushed and incomplete. McCafferty did not mention a sequel or hint at one at all, yet I felt that the book was unfinished...so it turns out there is a sequel! It just wasn't promoted very well.
The writing was okay (it took me a while longer to get the slanguage than it usually does in other dystopians though...) and the plot could be polished a bit more, but overall, Bumped is a book worth reading. Four stars for some interesting ideas. Not five due to the excessive use of slanguage, insufficient character development and a slow beginning.
P.S. The simple cover is soooo attracting, isn't it?!
Posted by angelaf