The Declaration Paperback – Aug 19 2008
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'Poignant, thought-provoking ... Sharing the visionary quality of books such as 'The Handmaid's Tale' and 'How I Live Now', The Declaration is one of those rare books that changes the way you see the world.' Publishing News 'Stunning, thought-provoking and a book that genuinely stays with you' The Bookseller (Teenage Highlights) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
About the Author
GEMMA MALLEY studied philosophy at Reading University before working as a journalist. A successful author of women's fiction, The Declaration is her first book for young readers. She lives in London with her family.
Top Customer Reviews
Gemma Malley's debut young adult novel, THE DECLARATION, is of the last category.
I am making this point because while THE DECLARATION involves two teenagers, fourteen-year-old Anna and fifteen-year-old Peter, it never feels aimed towards the teen audience Therefore it is categorized as a young adult novel by the age of its narrators rather than its content and this, I believe, will give it an enduring quality. C. S. Lewis wrote, "Where the children's story is simply the right form for what the author has to say, then of course readers who want to hear that will read the story or reread it at any age."
THE DECLARATION opens in the year 2140, and people have conquered death in the form of Longevity drugs. With limited food and fuel resources, waste has become a serious crime and the worst crime of all is having a child. Anna is one of these children. She is housed at Grange Hall where she and other Surpluses are taught that the most they can ever hope for is a harsh life of servitude to make amends for their existence.
Anna is well on her way to becoming a Valuable Asset when Peter arrives at Grange Hall. He challenges everything she has learned by arguing that people who take Longevity are the real criminals and perversions of nature, not the young. He also claims that he knows her parents and that they want her back.Read more ›
Well, here's another book that was recommended to me that really ended up sucking. I really expected this book to be good--especially because it's a dystopia science-fiction romance. It definitely sounded like my type of book that I could've end up loving.
It's the future, and in 2140 in a post-apocalyptic world, Anna realizes that she shouldn't be alive. Where she lives in Grange Hall, all of the kids are like her, and if she escapes, she will be put down like animals in the pound. Anna has to work for the rest of her life to pay debt to Mother Nature (what the heck) and when Peter, who is just like her, comes into Grange Hall, he has a lot to say about the outside world, and Anna wants to get out to meet her parents.
I understand that this was published a long time ago. (7 years is a long time when talking about ideas of books revolving.) But the idea wasn't anything special. In fact, I kind of thought it to be immature and boring. The whole book practically was.
In the beginning of the book and story, I was bored. I was beginning to get DNF thoughts into my head, but I kept on going because I trust recommendations and I didn't want to hate this book. Through the middle, it was great. And then it went totally downhill to the end. The ending sucked and the beginning sucked. Now that's kind of rude to do to us readers.
The story wasn't anything special. To classify the whole book itself, I'd say that it's just an under-classified dystopia sci-fi romance. That's all.Read more ›
Cons: ending a little too pat, subject matter's dark for younger teens
For Parents: no swearing, no sexual content, depictions of child abuse (beatings, brainwashing), threats of violence, murder, suicide
Surplus Anna lives in Grange Hall, training to be a Valuable Asset. Her parents ignored the Declaration in order to have her, and it's her duty to repay the world for their selfishness by becoming a servant of Legals. She'll be sixteen soon and her time at Grange Hall is ending.
She's a good Surplus and Knows Her Place. The coming of a new boy, her age, much older than Surpluses are usually found, turns her life upside-down. He claims to know her parents. He claims to know a way to escape Grange Hall. He calls her Anne Covey.
Like the protagonist in 1984, Anne's first act of defiance regarding her life is to start a diary. Her infractions mount quickly.
The premise that in the future humans would learn how to prolong life - to live forever - is interesting, especially given that this book takes it to the next level: with no one dying, there's no room for kids. We're never completely told what the actual Declaration says, which would normally annoy me, but here worked to add tension and horror, at each new revelation. I also liked how Malley gave periodic insights into how the world of the future worked, especially the idea that people, knowing they'd have to deal with climate problems rather than their descendants, finally took steps towards curbing them.
Everyone has a plausible reason for why they act the way they do, including Mrs.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The problem for 15-year-old Anna is that she's not legal. She doesn't get that choice or any other choices because she's Surplus. All the children who weren't supposed to be born are Surplus. For Anna that means Grange Hall, a training facility, where she's being programmed to serve the `immortals' until her short miserable life is over. She's been beaten, starved and brainwashed to believe that her parents were selfish to have her and that it would take her whole life to atone for their sins.
Then 16-year-old Peter gets dropped off at Grange Hall by the Catchers. But Peter's no ordinary Surplus. He's got confidence and spirit and all his attention is focused on Anna. He tells her he knows her parents and that they love her. He says he got caught on purpose so he can help her escape. He's definitely getting into Anna's head. Anna's life depends on her ability to continue her training without distraction but it's getting harder and harder for her to maintain her focus. What if Peter's telling the truth? How long can she suppress her hidden hopes and dreams for a real life outside of Grange Hall? Is this a trick? Is it a test to see if she's ready to advance in her training? Or could everything she believes in be one huge pack of lies?
The Declaration is a thought-provoking read and the way things are going now it may not be too far off from tomorrow's truth.
U should buy the book because it really opens your mind on how things could be in the future.
Brought forth a lot of very interesting ideas. This book really makes you think.
Oh, and I cried at the end.
While this story clips along at a decent pace, the characters are rather flat and while the world is interesting, there's some huge flaws that kept me from enjoying this book.
The story is set in 2140. That's about 130 years from now and somehow the creation of longevity drugs has completely erased the world's moral code. Surplus children (those who's parents decided to have children despite saying they wouldn't) are rounded up and taken from their parents (even children who were born to parents who 'opted out' of the agreement and aren't taking longevity drugs can be snatched with no penalty to the catchers) and deposited in 'halls' where they are brainwashed, beaten, downtrodden, starved, used for stem cells and sometimes killed. And this is OK to most members of the public (frequently, 'legal' people say surpluses should be put down, like animals). This is all done because Surpluses 'don't deserve to live/have good food/hot water/electricty/see the sky' because mother nature doesn't want them. Eventually, those Surpluses who are trained and downtrodden enough are given to legal people to be servents.
History has shown us that humans are very capable of doing terrible, evil things to other humans...but I guess I had hoped that society would have progressed enough that most people would be outraged at anyone being treated like this (especially children).
But the main issue with this book is that characters and events change on a dime. Surplus Anna has never known a kind word or touch in her life yet she is perfectly willing to curl up with Peter the first chance she gets. Likewise (SPOILER) Peter declares his love for Anna despite only having a few conversations with her/spending very little time together. While I could accept the way Anna's feelings progressed toward Peter, Peter's were too sudden to be realistic.
Also SPOILER: Anna has been brainwashed into believing her parents are evil because they broke the declaration and had her. She says, many times, that she hates them in the beginning of the book. Yet the first time she sees them, she falls into her mother's arms and sobs in happiness. I'm not an expert in brainwashing, but somehow this reaction seemed a little far-fetched.
Mrs. Sharp is told that she will be tortured/eventually killed and her husband will suffer if she doesn't tell the catchers everything she knows. She tells them and they just walk away and leave her be. She suffers NO reprocussions for what she has done (despite the fact that she has apparently broken many laws). It makes no sense.
I was also at a loss to understand society's reaction (SPOILER) to the escape of two surpluses...it seemed very overblown, but because this is a triology, I expect this issue will be dealt with further in other books.
All in all, it's not a terrible story. The world is interesting and the head of the hall has a very interesting (but a little too neatly ended) story that actually surprised me (not by what happened but by how it happened). But the writing didn't challenge me much and the plot problems convinced me that I don't want to continue with this series.
There are many better dystopian books out there...this one just missed the mark for me.
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