By: Thomas Duffy
Publication Date: January 2018
Reviewed by: Lynette Latzko
In the year 2075, life in the United States had unfortunately evolved into a chaotic mess. Crime and unemployment was at an all-time high, while teenage pregnancy was out of control. Higher education was almost nonexistent, forcing schools to shut down due to lack of enrollment. By the time the year 2090 arrived, the future of our country was so bleak, the government had decided to take control of the situation by forcing underachieving high school students to be separated by sex and enter into rehabilitation programs, and then, upon completion of the programs, return to their families for further vocational education until the age of twenty-five. However, this decision to separate the sexes did not seem to remedy any issues, and only further frustrated the young into more rebellion. In 2163 it was then voted upon by the citizens of the United States that children born would be immediately separated by sex and raised in same-sex States by same-sex educators until the age of twenty-two and completion of their education. The young adult would then be introduced into mixed sex society where they would be further educated with regards to the opposite sex, and begin gainful employment and integration into society.
The Separation, by author Thomas Duffy, follows the story of Finn Parker, a male separated from his parents at birth and strictly educated by all-male instructors until he turned twenty-two. Finn excelled in his education and became not only a model student, but a model citizen once he was placed into mixed-sex society where he eventually marries Angela, and together they have a child of their own who is also taken away at birth. Though Finn tries to maintain a relationship with Angela, he struggles with his place in society, and ultimately makes several decisions that drastically change his future.
The author does a good job presenting a dark, dystopian story of an oppressive government-controlled society that focuses on education and career advancement at the expense of basic human needs of truth, freedom, and love. The Separation has the potential to be an excellent book, specifically for book clubs, because despite it being set in the future, critical topics, especially related to gender in society, are very relevant today, and will be sure to spark hours of debate amongst members. However, while the story itself is a compelling one, exposing readers to heavy topics such as gender roles, freedom and religion, there are some issues in the writing, mainly in spelling and grammar, that cause some unnecessary hiccups and distractions to the overall flow. Also, while the main character, Finn, is presented in an excellent and likable manner, allowing readers to not only connect with his character, but to root for him throughout the story, the interactions of other characters and the dialog feel a bit flat and forced at times. With that said, the core of the story is presented well enough to hook readers’ curiosity right from the opening lines, following through with a few interesting plot twists, and successfully carrying them towards the ending.
Quill says: The Separation provides readers a good glimpse into a dystopian future that will leave readers thinking about this story long after they have finished reading.