I’ve been inhabiting dystopian societies for a couple of weeks now. This is a relatively new experience for me, which is what reading should be about! ‘The Girl with All the Gifts’ is essentially a zombie book. I’m fairly sure I’m not, this is the first zombie story I have ever read. According to many reviewers, this post-apocalyptic novel re-works a familiar genre in a new way. I’m not able to comment on that, for the reasons stated above!
Melanie is the central character and she is the girl with all the gifts – the title is a reference to Pandora, who was driven by curiosity to open a box, which turned out to contain all the evils of humanity. Only one thing remained to comfort Man – and that was Hope. Melanie goes to lessons every morning and has a crush on her teacher, Miss Justineau. Miss Justineau seems fond of Melanie as well, convinced that the child is not as dangerous as others would have her believe, and that the young girl is capable of the usual range of 11-year old emotions. Dr Caroline Caldwell disagrees and is determined to uncover the explanation for why Melanie and her friends are different. When the three of them are forced to undertake a road trip in the company of two guards, the conflict between the interests of the two women has to be played out.
I finished the book about a week ago, but I still haven’t made up my mind about it! The storyline is that of an adventure, yet the notion of the semi-human ‘hungries’ infected with a grey fungus, is one which seems too ridiculous to me. I know it’s fiction, but combined with the pseudo-science and mycological theories, I couldn’t quite bend my brain round the imaginary creatures. Which may be a good thing – otherwise Dr Caldwell might want a slice of it!