Thursday, July 23, 2009
Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande
I went back and forth with this novel. There were things I liked, and yet things I felt were too contrived. I loved the premise of the book, and think that the controversies within are very import to explore. I think there is a strong faction of ultra conservatives/religious fundamentalists in our society that do have these strong opinions and do try to impact things such as gay rights and the teaching of evolution in our schools. However, I thought that the characters in this novel were bit heavy handed, almost too stereotypical. For example I thought the pastor was portrayed as very small-minded and nasty, and Mena's parents were not fleshed out all- they were very one-dimensional and not believable to me. I also thought Mena's old friends were especially nasty for Christians. The characters in Casey's family were much more developed - compared to Mena's parents, and I liked them. They were quirky and fun. I also liked the science teacher. But again, were these characters also too stereotypical?
However, what I did like about the book was Mena's character. I thought the author did a great job drawing out Mena's conflict between her religious beliefs and science. I like how the author shows that God and science can co-exist, that faith does not preclude scientific fact, that there is room for God in science. I also loved the relationship between Mena and Casey...though wondered if it would be too chaste for some of our readers?
I also like the way the author unfolds the story...how slowly, throughout the novel, we learn what happened to the boy in Mena's old school and how it came to be that her old friends are now ostracizing her.
Overall, I felt this book did an excellent job addressing the issue of evolution vs creationism. And I think it did a great job of showing the reader that a few, powerful people can have a strong influence on society! And that it not always easy to make the right decisions in the face of peer pressure. Anxious to see what you all thought.