Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future

by A. S. King
First sentence: “So we drank it – the two of us.”
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Content: There’s some swearing — including multiple f-bombs — plus some frank talk about sex. It’s definitely a more mature book, and is in the teen section (grades 9+) of the bookstore.

Eighteen-year-old Glory O’Brien has had her mother’s suicide hanging over her for practically her whole life. It’s kept her father from doing his art; he stays home, eating, and working as an on-line tech consultant. It’s kept Glory from doing much of anything, really, frozen with the expectation that she, too, will commit suicide eventually.

And it doesn’t help that no one ever talks about It. Or her mom.

Then she and her best friend (by default, since they live across the street from each other), find a dead, mummified bat in the barn. It gets turned to dust, and they mix it with beer and drink it up. And then they start seeing visions.

Glory’s visions are of a horrific patriarchal future, where women’s rights are completely taken away, and the country ends up in another Civil War. This fascinates and terrifies Glory — what’s her role in this future? How does it come to be like this? Will it? — and the act of having these visions pushes her into action.

Trippy doesn’t even begin to cover this book. It’s wild, weird, trippy, odd… King has bitten off a huge piece of cake here, and I’m not sure how well it worked for me. On the one hand, I was thinking it was a Handmaid’s Tale-esque feminist warning about what will happen if we give up the fight and stop questioning the status quo. But the longer the book went, the more I wondered if there was a point to all this, aside from spurring Glory and her dad to action. Maybe there wasn’t. And while I am glad that Glory actually made decisions and started living her life, I kind of wish there were a less trippy way of doing it.

So, in the end, even though I liked the individual elements of the book, I was unsatisfied with it as a whole.

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