Title: American War
Author: Omar El Akkad
Publisher: Knopf 2017
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 2/5 stars
Reading Challenges: Library Love; Alphabet Soup - E; Dancing with Fantasy and Scifi - Science
An audacious and powerful debut novel: a second American Civil War, a devastating plague, and one family caught deep in the middle—a story that asks what might happen if America were to turn its most devastating policies and deadly weapons upon itself.
Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, and that unmanned drones fill the sky. When her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she begins to grow up shaped by her particular time and place. But not everyone at Camp Patience is who they claim to be. Eventually Sarat is befriended by a mysterious functionary, under whose influence she is turned into a deadly instrument of war. The decisions that she makes will have tremendous consequences not just for Sarat but for her family and her country, rippling through generations of strangers and kin alike.
The February selection for the Girly Book Club. This was billed as a brilliant and powerful novel, but I found it pretty simplistic. I liked the idea of a Second Civil War, but the divide and the highly stereotyped and generalized groups annoyed me. The picture of the South depicted feels very old fashioned. With our changing demographics in this country, to portray all Southerners as rednecks was much too reductive for me. I just couldn’t get behind the basis for the groups. After mulling it over even more, why is the divide North/South? Wouldn’t it be more of an economic divide? There’s one line late in the book about how the Reds of the South got their name from voting Republican. Silly… There are plenty of Republicans all over the country and not everyone in the South votes Republican. As for the rest of the book, it felt very formulaic and graphic. I could predict exactly what was going to happen. I also was repulsed by the graphic scenes (and I read plenty of graphic books).
Next up on the TBR pile: