Author: Caragh M. O'Brien
Published: 30 March 2010
Synopsis provided by GoodReads:
After climate change, on the north shore of Unlake Superior, a dystopian world is divided between those who live inside the wall, and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone, who live outside. It's Gaia's job to advance a quota of infants from poverty into the walled Enclave, until the night one agonized mother objects, and Gaia's parents are arrested. Badly scarred since childhood, Gaia is a strong, resourceful loner who begins to question her society. As Gaia's efforts to save her parents take her within the wall, she herself is arrested and imprisoned. Fraught with difficult moral choices and rich with intricate layers of codes, Birthmarked explores a colorful, cruel, eerily familiar world where one girl can make all the difference, and a real hero makes her own moral code.
First things, first. While reading this book, I had about five people as me what I was reading and when I said it was a dystopian novel, they starred at me with blank faces and asked me what dystopian means. Just so we're all on the same page here is the definition.
Dystopia: a society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease and overcrowding. An imaginary place where everything is as bad as it could be.
Birthmarked takes place about 400 years in the future from now and everything we ever knew or thought about our world has changed. Society is divided by those who live inside the wall and those who do not. Those who live inside the wall, in what they call the Enclave, are elite, the rich and the powerful. Those who live outside the wall live in poverty without any kind of modern convenience, even running water or simple electricity. Everything they have, which is not much, is given to them by the Enclave and Gaia makes her living as a midwife, advancing 3 babies a month, from her sector, to the wall. On the night that she delivers her first baby by herself, she comes home to find that her parents have been arrested because the Protectorate believes that Gaia's mother has been keeping a record of the babies that she has been advancing.
Because the population of people who live within the wall is very small, they have been having trouble with inbreeding and the diseases that result. So naturally, advanced babies are an enviable choice for marriage, but without any records of who is who and where they come from, how are they supposed which advanced babies have come from where?
Birthmarked is the book that has recently launched me into my current dystopian novel OBSESSION!!! I love books that are set in the future because I enjoy reading or even hearing about how people imagine the world to be after we are long gone. So not only is this book set in the future but it is jammed packed with adventure, action, romance and a stand against the established society. What isn't there to love?!
I like to think of Birthmarked as Gaia's coming of age story, a time when she loses her innocence and her eyes are opened to how the world really is. She learns that she needs to question everything she knows in her mind and learn to trust everything she believes in her heart to be true. Not only is this story so sad that I wanted to cry at times, but it also leaves it's readers with hope that one day she can bring change to her cruel society.
If any of my reader and blogger friends like dystopian type novel, I recommend this book 100%. It is so worth it!