Welcome back bookworms! Our final book of the summer was Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake. Since bookstores are drowning in dystopian fiction (especially the YA section), I wanted to check out one of the originals of this genre. From here on in there are spoilers!
Oryx and Crake begins with Snowman (formerly Jimmy) who is living by the sea, watching over a group of genetically-modified human-like clones. Crake has created these clones to survive the end of the world, which is imminent considering the environmental peril that Snowman’s world is currently in. The book is told in flashbacks that bring us up to modern day Snowman.
Snowman/Jimmy starts by telling the reader about his upbringing on compounds run by the companies his scientist father worked for. Jimmy’s mother ran off, leaving him feeling abandoned and desperate for the belonging he finds with Crake. When the boys are in high school, they discover Oryx, a Southeast Asian sex slave who Crake eventually finds and brings to the compound. As time goes on, Crake climbs the ladder to the top of his current compound and brings along Jimmy to help him sell a pill that will end humanity as we know it through virus. Crake believes that humans must stop breeding and he creates his “Crakers” to populate the planet once humans are gone. Jimmy has been vaccinated and designated to help the Crakers as they take over the world, bringing us to the beginning of the book.
I liked all the social commentary that Atwood managed to cram into this novel – it didn’t just tell a story, but supplied a thinly-veiled opinion on a not-so-distant future for our world. Her thoughts on cloning and genetic modification were interesting and woven into a thoroughly engaging storyline. What did you think?
My only disappointment was our narrator, Jimmy. He confused me at the beginning and I much preferred his flashbacks to modern day happenings. His life was mundane and he didn’t seem that concerned or upset about his predicament – just obsessed with sex and booze. I suppose there wasn’t much else for him to do and perhaps he had resigned to his fate, but I still would have liked a more inspiring narrator. Despite this, I will definitely be picking up the second book in this trilogy (and probably the finale too!).
That’s all folks! For September, we’ll be digging into We Were Liars by E. Lockhart! See you then!