Sep 202012

Among Others, by Jo Walton

Synopsis: Set in ’79 and ’80, the diary of a teenage girl (Mor) who lost her twin and was herself crippled in a car accident. She deals with the loss by joining an SF book club. In the meantime, fairies help her defend herself from her evil witch mother.

Brief Book Review: A well written book with a few minor holes. An intimate portrayal of an isolated teen dealing with loss. Some readers may be put off by the lack of a plot, or that Mor seems far too wise for her age, but I didn’t mind the first and actively enjoyed the latter. Be prepared for more of an Oprah Book Club book rather than a SF book, but with all the positive aspects rather than the negative ones. Recommended.

Club Review: This book can be read in two very different ways, and once a reader latches on to one it is extremely hard to switch to the other. Different people will have very different reading experiences depending on which way they chose to interpret the story. This itself makes it a very strong book club book, as there will be a lot of comparing of notes on how the experience differed. There are a number of implied or veiled aspects to the story that can be disputed. The large number of references to 70s SF/F will get the older members of a group reminiscing about books of the past. The combination of powerlessness and frankness that characterize Mor make for some memorable lines. And the existence of a book club within the book makes for some fun comparison.

Summary: A strong book with some flaws that will give a book club a lot to chew over. The vagueness of it provides for a lot of reader interpretation, which makes for good discussion with others. Strongly recommended.

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