Saturday, 11 February 2012

Pure - Julianna Baggott

GENRE: Young Adult
PAGES: 416
PUBLISHER: Hodder Paperback
FORMAT: Paperback
BUY IT: Waterstones


We know you are here, our brothers and sisters. We will, one day, emerge from the Dome to join you in peace. For now, we watch from afar. Pressia Belze has lived outside of the Dome ever since the detonations. Struggling for survival she dreams of life inside the safety of the Dome with the 'Pure'. Partridge, himself a Pure, knows that life inside the Dome, under the strict control of the leaders' regime, isn't as perfect as others think. Bound by a history that neither can clearly remember, Pressia and Partridge are destined to forge a new world.

THIS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS. I hope that it doesn't ruin things too much, but this book begs to be analysed. I have tried not to talk about the plot in itself too much, just my opinions on the world Baggott has created.

There are so many threads to follow with Pure that it's difficult to know where to start. The imagery is  immensely cruel; the characters are extensively and emphatically broken. Those who were outside of the Dome before the Detonations hit, those who are known now as the Wretches, are so damaged it's a wonder they survived at all. Most are embedded with glass or metal, many are fused to the things they were holding or standing next to. Both objects and people.

What Baggott captures so brilliantly is their survival. Their ability to adapt and continue is what makes things so interesting. These Wretches suffer both physical and mental torture. These malformations, caused by the Detonations, are obvious and frank reminders of the Atomic bomb. Man has always struggled with both the morals and the human cost of scientific advancement. Pure embodies and projects this fear, and tells us that it only takes one fanatic, one person to press the button and end it all. Baggott explains in the author notes that her thoughts surrounding the text came from the events in Hiroshima and its not hard to see. 

Running through all this devastation, however, is the imagery of birds. Known generally to represent freedom, and the fact that there are no birds in the Dome speaks volumes. Pressia importantly has a pet mechanical bird called Freedle who she refers to several times and misses. Does this mean that man can create his own freedom? What is evident is that our freedom is something that we should cherish and care for, like Pressia does for Freedle. Does this also mean, then, that the Boy with Birds in his Back is somehow an important tool for regaining freedom? Also, what is the significance of the swan? That one you'll have to wait and see for yourselves.

The story is essentially a quest narrative, but with all the best Dystopian features.

Pressia is the main character in this book, and one's who's journey it feels is followed for the longest. It is intriguing that the most important figure is female, because there is so much in the book about the treatment of women, about the Feminine Feminists (but this is a whole other blog post). She's feisty, confused and conflicted but she has a heart and we can see this right from the beginning with her Grandfather. Pressia loses both of her parents in the detonations and as such she is desperately trying to remember anything so can about them. 

The most important thing about Partridge is that he is a Pure. He gives us the glimpses from the other side, the world inside the Dome but also seeing the outside for the first time. He is invaluable because his body is still intact, but also because his father is the leader of the Dome.

Bradwell is, in essence, the groups revolutionary leader. His parents were originally part of the scientists Before and knows that everything is corrupt, that the Dome will not come to save them. He wants revenge. I think his character is the one that grows the most.

I hope my ponderings on this book hasn't given too much away, and I hope it makes you want to read it. It has, and there is, so much to say on so many topics. I hope anyone who reads it enjoys it as much as I have.

For fans of: The Hunger Games series, Dystopian fiction.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a great book, sounds... different and considering what you say I know I MUST read it. Nice review!