“The Testament of Jessie Lamb”

September 5, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Posted in Fiction | 3 Comments

Here we are racing through the Booker long list, trying to get our picks sorted for the announcement of the short list tomorrow.  I picked The Testament of Jessie Lamb because speculation consistently puts it at the bottom of the list, and I wanted to see for myself.

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This is a standard dystopian novel that reads like a YA novel.  The premise should pack an emotional punch for teenage girls.  In fact, I think it would make a great read for girls that age, at a time when they are vulnerable to ideology and grand political gestures.  For the rest of us, and I am speaking as a vegan here, the “mankind has ruined our fair Earth” message can come across a bit strident and heavy-handed.

There are flaws in the book that cause me to agree that it is not long list material.  For instance, “Maternal Death Syndrome” simply doesn’t sound scientific enough.  The plot is similar to The White Plague, and we can’t blame Jane Rogers for not being Frank Herbert, but, well, she isn’t.  Most of all, though, I just absolutely can’t stand it when different fonts are used in a book to represent different time frames or the voices of different characters.  Pet peeve, what can I say?

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  1. I am impressed that you read through the long list in such a short time. The font thing is one of my pet peeves too. I especially hate it when italics are used to show when a character is thinking.

    • Oh, italics are even worse! I almost mentioned that in this review, actually, but thought it wouldn’t be fair since Jane Rogers clearly knew better than to commit such a transgression.

      I’m actually embarrassed that I didn’t finish reading through the long list even when I had all but one of the books to hand. All I can say in my defense is that since the long list was announced, I helped my parents move house for the first time in 21 years, and my dog was diagnosed with Addison’s disease after a week of veterinary appointments.

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