The Glimpse (The Glimpse #1) by Claire Merle
Paperback, 432 pages
Expected Publication: May 7th 2012 by Faber and Faber
Expected Publication: May 7th 2012 by Faber and Faber
Description via Goodreads:
Once you've seen into the future, can you change your destiny?
In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell.
Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a ‘normal’ life. But then Jasper disappears.
Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not intefere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society and into the pits of the human soul. And as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper's abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe, but she also learns to love as she has never loved before
My thanks go to Faber and Faber for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Glimpse is a book that combines two things that really grab my interest - dystopian society and mental health issues. I was so excited to get my hands on a copy of a story that combines the two, but I did have my reservations at the same time. Thankfully, I didn't find myself offended by the mixture of the two and I did enjoy this book.
This book is bound to be controversial, especially if you're easily offended. One in four of us have some sort of experience with mental illness, so it's likely that a lot of people could be offended by the contents of this book. If you're able to sit back, relax and get it into your head that this is fiction, it's not real and it's meant to be dramatic, then you should be able to enjoy this one. If I was living in the book, I'd firmly fit in the 'Big3' what with having two of the conditions, and so I'd be classed as one of the full-on Crazies(!) but I am in no way offended by that. I understand and respect that some people aren't as open as I am, but hopefully people won't take this book too seriously. I think the story is actually really good at showing people that all of us have emotions and sometimes people do feel the need to hide them or suppress them. I think that there is a message in this book for the reader to interpret.
The Glimpse features a society where people are categorised into two categories - 'Pures' who don't have a predisposition for mental illness and those who do have a predisposition, the 'Crazies. There is a test for the 'Big3' - anxiety, depression and schizophrenia, three very intense mental illnesses. Those who pass the test get to go on living comfortable lives and those who don't are separated, excluded and live a poor, tough, rough lifestyle. The story focuses around a girl called Ana who has lived her whole life as a Pure, but found out that actually, she does have a predisposition for illness and so is in fact one of the Crazies.
We follow the story of Ana as she discovers her true past, the tragic history of her family and has to come to terms with who she really is. She is still the same person, but if the society found out, she would never live in the same way again. I think Ana actually took the discovery quite well and I did warm to her - I thought she was quite a good character and although I don't love her yet, I could see myself liking her even more as the story progresses. She seemed realistic to me, and thats why I liked her. She wasn't weak, but she wasn't overly brave. I found her to be an enjoyable character to read about.
On top of having to deal with the fact that she could have her comfortable lifestyle taken away from her, her partner, Jasper, goes missing and is supposedly abducted. Unfortunately, this is the part of the book that started to confuse me! I admit that it's not hard to confuse me, but it took me quite a while to trudge through parts of this book as I had to keep checking back on things to see what was going on. A lot of 'facts' are changed/revealed throughout the story and I felt that sometimes we were being given too many different things to try and remember. I know that a lot of people do enjoy that though, and it did seem to be well done, it was just a bit too overwhelming for me - especially the sections about The Enlightenment Project.
Ana meets a lot of people when she is trying to find where Jasper has disappeared to and the story starts to get pretty exciting! I really loved venturing into the (somewhat) unknown with Ana and meeting all of these new, different people in their very different situation. We are introduced first to Lila, sister of Nate and Cole. I absolutely loved Lila - she seemed fun, quite confident and very loyal. Whilst I didn't particularly like Nate or Cole at the beginning, I definitely grew to understand what they were about and I did warm to them. There is definitely something mysterious behind this family that we are only starting to get to know. I found the action at the end of the book to be quite scary, but also the high point of the story for me!
Overall, although I was confused for quite a bit of this book which made it a bit difficult/slow to get through, I did enjoy it and the mystery behind it. As I've said, it is controversial and I understand and respect that some people won't be comfortable with how mental illness is portrayed, which is understandable. If you're able to just accept that this is fiction and are mature enough to understand that people with mental health issues aren't 'Crazies', then try and enjoy this new Dystopian read. I will certainly want to follow on and see what happens next!