Editor's Lit: September

Updated: 2 Sep 2013

Time Out says

A long awaited final instalment of a trilogy and a hilarious book by a television sitcom writer got Su Aziz lost in different fictitious worlds. The 25 per cent discount with which these two come with got her back to reality.

At last, the final part of the bestselling ‘Matched’ trilogy, ‘Reached’ (RM34.95/Penguin) by Ally Condie, is in paperback. All three – ‘Matched’, ‘Crossed’ and ‘Reached’ – may be written for young adults but as in most young adult fiction these days, their sophistication in terms of detailed facts and character development promote mental stimulation and a deeper thought process that’s also appealing to adults.

In the first part the three protagonists – living in a world where the Society dictates what and when they eat, what they wear, when they die and even with whom they are matched – are realising there are choices in life, planting seeds of doubt in the Society’s dependability. The second part sees them breaking out of the orderly world in search of each other and following their hearts.

This final instalment sees them finding what they’ve been desiring – the freedom to choose who to be with but not without a high price. Of course. Basically, you can expect a futuristic war (people killed by a plague rather than weapons and bloodshed is minimal), rebellion and romance (although in a more practical sense that only dystopia can generate).

Condie’s characters have grown into the people they are meant to be since the first book and her inclusive writing style will absorb you into the story, making you part of the gang, rooting their cause and feeling their emotions during the seemingly endless farewells they have to endure.

Furthermore, Condie’s description of dystopia without the usual heavy blanket of darkness and hopelessness has made this one a light read despite of its underlining urgency to save a population from being wiped out by a man-triggered plague. The ending, however, may be a little vague and holds no promise but give it a chance, we say, and it will feel like a long sigh that punctuates this good read.

Once you’ve escaped from that light dystopic read, allow Maria Semple’s hilarious ‘Where’d You Go Bernadette’ (RM35.90/Phoenix) to lighten the mood. This one is, as some reviews stated, ‘searingly funny’. A warning though: reading this book in public might render you as nuts by passersby since you will, undoubtedly, be laughing out loud and uncontrollably.

So, in this book lives Bernadette Fox who resides, reluctantly, in Seattle with her ever-tolerant husband and teenaged daughter. She despises the city, she doesn’t get on with people and she was once a terrific, bordering genius, architect who built one house – albeit a famous one. Then a family trip to Antartica comes up and she disappears just before they sail.

Between the pre-planning of the trip and the day they are to set sail, a series of events unhinge Bernadette (or so you and her husband will think). Truth of the matter is, it’s actually a series of misinterpreted actions started through abating stubborn blackberry bushes, amplified by nosy Stepford mothers and a virtual assistant from India who happens to be a shell company for a crime syndicate operating out of Russia. ‘Nuff said!

Nevertheless, the pieces cleverly come together for the reader (who, we suspect, will be driven mad by curiosity) in the end through letters, e-mails and narrations by the daughter. All we can say is, you’ve got to read it for yourself because you’ve simply got to be there, so to speak.

In fact, Semple’s written humour is so infectious and zesty that there’s talk about how the book might be turned into a film. Not a surprise really since Semple’s supply of funny, side-splitting one-liners that shape sitcom scripts has been enjoyed by many who watch ‘Ellen’, ‘Saturday Night Live’, ‘Arrested Development’ and ‘Mad About You’. So, keep your eyes peeled for the film version of it. Rumour has it that it won’t be too long a wait.

BORDERS’ DISCOUNT VOUCHER FOR SEPTEMBER 2013 
Get 25 per cent discount on ‘Where’d You Go Bernadette’ and/or ‘Reached’ by either printing out this voucher or flashing this page on your phone to a Borders’ cashier upon payment. This offer is only valid in Borders Queensbay Mall until Sep 30, 2013. Printed or digital coupon is valid for one-time use only and is not valid with other promotions.

Tags: Books