by Glenn Beck (Author), (with Harriet Parke)
January LaVoy (Reader)
- Audio CD (7 discs)
- Listening Length: 8 hours and 35 minutes
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio; Unabridged edition (November 20, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1442360925
- ISBN-13: 978-1442360921
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0
Release Date: November 20, 2012
“I was just a baby when we were relocated and I don’t remember much. Everybody has that black hole at the beginning of their life. That time you can’t remember. Your first step. Your first taste of table food. My real memories begin in our assigned living area in Compound 14.”
Just a generation ago this place was called America. Now, after the worldwide implementation of UN-lead program called Agenda 21, it’s simply known as the “Republic.” There is no president. No congress. No Supreme Court. No freedom.
There are only the Authorities.
Citizens have two primary goals in the new Republic: to create clean energy and to create new human life.
Those who cannot do either are of no use to society.
This bleak and barren existence is all that eighteen-year-old Emmeline has ever known. She dutifully walks her energy board daily and accepts all male pairings assigned to her by the Authorities. Like most citizens, she keeps her head down and her eyes closed.
Until the day they came for her mother.
“You save what you think you’re going to lose.”
Woken up to the harsh reality of her life and her family’s future inside the Republic, Emmeline begins to search for the truth. Why are all citizens confined to ubiquitous concrete living spaces? Why are Compounds guarded by Gatekeepers who track all movements? Why are food, water and energy rationed so strictly? And, most important, why are babies taken from their mothers at birth?
As Emmeline begins to understand the true objectives of Agenda 21 she realizes that she is up against far more than she ever thought. With the Authorities closing in, and nowhere to run, Emmeline embarks on an audacious plan to save her family and expose the Republic—but is she already too late?
Emmeline lives with her mother in a small dwelling where they spend their days walking the energy making treadmills. They must meet their quota or they will be removed. There is no interaction with neighbors, no recreation, no real community. Even family is limited and Emmeline is one of the last “home-raised” children as now children are raised by the Authorities.
Emmeline’s parents share remembrances of ‘before’ when they had freedom, lived on a farm and raised crops and animals. Now plants and animals and the environment are protected.
When economic failure occurred in America a new government promised housing, food and equal treatment for everyone. The people were moved, voluntarily or by force, into compounds where they were assigned jobs, provided humble housing with rationed food cubes and where pairing mates were directed by the Republic. All possessions were given up although Emmeline finds a horde of small things her mother hid.
Emmeline is first paired with an older man. George is kind and they got along all right. Their successful mating produced a child who is kept by the nursery while Emmeline is sent home. An accident kills George and her father and Emmeline’s mother curls up in despair.
A replacement mate is a frail young man, really still a boy, who resents the home raised Emmeline. Emmeline’s mother is taken away and the boy runs off. As the Authorities seek another replacement mate, Emmeline is befriended by a transporter, who helped calm her when she had to leave her baby behind, and his son, David, a night Gatekeeper.
Emmeline is intent on getting to be with her baby girl, Elsa, but the rules won’t allow it. With the help of her new friends she gets a position in the nursery where she can see her baby. She finds the other workers hostile as they have been raised by impersonal care of the Republic with a mind set only to duty.
The Authorities are concerned because the birth rate is down and babies in the nursery have not been thriving. Although the nursery manager, David’s mother, thinks the children need nurturing, the workers want to continue their impersonal treatment of the infants and toddlers. There is the strong possibility that the nursery will be closed and all children moved to another community compound.
What options exist for Emmeline? How far will she go and what will she risk to be with and protect her child?
This starts a little slowly, which actually fits the monotony of the controlled lives. Then I became wrapped into Emmeline’s sad, controlled and limited world. My spirit wanted to break free with hers. The writing could have been more polished and there are gaps in the society development and lots of questions left open. But the point is made. This is a scary scenario with a timely message about the dangers of relinquishing personal freedoms to government control.
Audio Notes: I was not particularly impressed with the narration, which I first thought was rather bland. There is emotion expressed, especially when Emmeline is removed from her baby but I didn’t like the whinny cries. I think it was more that I didn’t care for the narrator’s voice and I didn’t feel there was much effort to distinguish between the characters.I was surprised and impressed by the Afterword but since there is a request not to reveal the contents I will honor that request. I encourage any reader who is concerned about the struggles of balancing personal freedoms with environmental protections, or interested in possible future society solutions, to read this book.
Emmeline realizes that they will take her baby and these sentiments echo indifference shown in history past:
I should have known they would take my baby. Maybe I thought it wouldn’t happen to me. Never again would I think that way. Anything could happen to me. Disc 2 Track 4.
I received this from Simon and Schuster through Audiobook Jukebox for an honest review.