The List by Patricia Forde
My Rating: 4 stars
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Publish Date: August 8th, 2017
Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review
Fahrenheit 451 meets The Giver for tweens in this gripping story about the power of words and the dangers of censorship.
In the city of Ark, speech is constrained to five hundred sanctioned words. Speak outside the approved lexicon and face banishment. The exceptions are the Wordsmith and his apprentice Letta, the keepers and archivists of all language in their post-apocalyptic, neo-medieval world.
On the death of her master, Letta is suddenly promoted to Wordsmith, charged with collecting and saving words. But when she uncovers a sinister plan to suppress language and rob Ark’s citizens of their power of speech, she realizes that it’s up to her to save not only words, but culture itself.
When I was in elementary school, my favorite teacher Mrs. Ohonion had the class read a little book called The Giver. The first time I read it I was stunned, awed by a discussion of humanity I had never pondered prior. The List has thus impacted me further.
This novel brought back some of my fondest memories and made me feel like a child once more. It reminded me of some of the moments that shaped the way I decided to view the world, humanity, and how we connect to one another. I loved it. The writing was beautiful. The characters thoughtfully crafted. The message, the words, were the most powerful parts of all.
Letta is a young apprentice to The Wordsmith an older man named Benjamin. Letta in my eyes, represents humanity. Her beliefs molded by her upbringing she at first only knows what are called the Desecraters as terrorists, mauraders, and a people of destruction. Yet, like all humans she possesses an Independent mind that allowed her to see her situation in a new light, and that is the beauty of being human.
Letta is the kind of person I aspire to be. She does not let her bias affect what she knows to be right or wrong. She does not look at people and see them as anything less then what they are, human. When she is given a place of power she does not belittle others, she does all she can to help them, to be there for them, and that is the kind of person I wish to be. It’s hard to think that I could ever choose to do so many of the things she did. Society as she lives in has deteriorated and she is one of the many voices hoping for the future.
Inside this story, the world was destroyed by climate change a radical mind named Noa built up an eden called Arch. In this eden, the only words spoken are from the list. A minuscule amount of 500 words allowed to be spoken. The result is a society conditioned to give in and forget the beauty of words. All controlled by a man who knows their power better than anyone else.
The most imperitive part of this novel is words. What does it mean to limit them. What happens when it becomes extinct? What would we ever do if we were wordless? I love pondering words. The way we use them tailor the way we see the world and how the world in turn sees us. Without them, we would be nothing and could aspire to nothing, we could only be. This point is the cornerstone of what this novel stands for as well as what made me come to love it so much.
A novel not so far removed from what society could be, it is one that challenges you to think about the type of world we live in and the type of world you would want create and to give you the incentive to do something about it. The world is ours. What has happened has past, but the future is created by our design.
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this review. The list is a novel I would highly recommend to all. Are you thinking about reading this book? What are your thoughts on The Giver style novels? If you have read this book, what did you think?
-Till next time!