Monday, January 14, 2008

Uglies - Scott Westerfeld


Genre : Science-Fiction - Young Adults : A mixture of The Giver by Lois Lowry and 1984 by George Orwell

American publisher : Simon Pulse : 8,99$

English publisher : Simon & Schuster Childrens Books : 6,99£

Synopsis : 300 years ago a great cataclysm destroyed humanity (The Rusties) and a bunch of persons survived and built a new world.

In this new world, Tally and Peris are Uglies, that's to say that they're not 16 yet. They're waiting impatiently for the surgery which will make them Pretties. Peris has his surgery and Tally need to wait 3 more months, alone, because Uglies and Pretties don't mix. One day, Tally decides to pay a visit to her old friend in New Pretty Town, where the Uglies are banished. She's near to be arrested for crashing in a Pretty Party, and on her way she meets Shay, who'll be 16 the same day as her. But Shay doesn't share Tally'enthusiasm for the surgery. A week before their birthday, she tries to convince Tally to run away with her to The Smoke, a town in the wild where those who don't want the surgery can live secretly. But tally refusesn and Shay leaves on her own, not without giving her friend directions, just in case.

On the day she turns 16, Tally is taken to the hospital, it's finally the day when she'll be Pretty. But after waiting for hours, she's taken to The Special Circumstances Office. There, she meets cruel Pretties who tell her that she'll never be Pretty unless she betray her friend and lead them to The Smoke. Tally leaves on her hoverboard to try and save her friend. But once she's there, she discovers a new way of considering the world and her spy being torments her. What will she decide? Betray her friend, but also her new friends from The Smoke, and risking to destroy all that? Or will she decide to stay there?

An extract : I liked particularly is the one when Shay shows to Tally magazines in which there are photos of famous people, and Tally is shocked by their ugliness. She doesn't understand we could live like that.

Unfortunately, my Uglies book is in franch so I can't write this passage here, because it won't be very nice for Scott Westerfeld if I changed his original text by making a translation of a translation. And maybe it would be like the bush telegraph in the end;o)

What I think : I think Uglies really deserves to be read. It is very rich and stirring. We can't let it down once open. There are all the ingredients of a book for young adults (adventure, love, friendship, betrayal, Sci-Fi...), but there's also a real criticism of our society. What future for our planet? The Rusties (us) destroyed themselves. We can find here a kind of warning about how the world is turning out : the dictatorship of beauty and thinness, the non-respect of the environement... But, finally in this book, the Man of today is not worse than the Man of tomorrow. The beauty dictatorship is still here, maybe even worse, and everyone has to have surgery. They want to suppress inequality by making everyone look alike, but is it the only reason? I won't say anymore about that, I prefer to let you discover it by yourselves.

To conclude, I'll just say that finally the vision of humanity by Scott Westerfeld isn't really hopefull : Even after 300 years from now, Humankind just wants to have power, to control and to destroy. I hope he's wrong about that ;o)

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