Review: The Girl With All The Gifts – M. R. Carey
I was one of those kids who hated gore. I hated seeing gory things on tv, hated reading about them in books, hated hearing people talk about things which might possibly have been related to gore, hated things which maybe once were near something which then went on at a later date to be gory…
How times have changed. No longer do I want to throw up whenever anyone mentions anything remotely gross. When I was on my work experience, a guy there told me about trapping his fingers in a door and scraping the skin off. I almost passed out! Now, my legs only go a tiny bit wobbly when I think of it! And now, I am the kind of person who can watch 98% of Game of Thrones. I’m so proud of my lessening sensitivity!
This new me is extending beyond tv, and into zombie books. Yes! Zombie books! The blurb of The Girl With All The Gifts doesn’t give that much away, and I bought it on a whim because… actually, I’m not sure why I bought it. I think I was trying to extend my reading with a few random picks, and this happened to catch my eye.
I’m glad I didn’t know it was a zombie book, because then I wouldn’t have read it. I would have denied myself this beautiful book, so far from what I imagine a zombie book to be. It’s a book about humanity, with an ending that will tear your heart.
NOT EVERY GIFT IS A BLESSING
Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.
When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite. But they don’t laugh.
Melanie is a very special girl.
Melanie’s gifts place her in grave danger, but her rescue puts the one person she cares about in graver danger still. She will do anything to protect the person she loves, even if that means protection from Melanie herself.
A little girl being a monster is not necessarily an unusual premise. I’m thinking of what I would call the “creepy Victorian children” trope. The twins in that horror thing with twins in. You know the one I mean. But Melanie is more like Frankenstein’s monster. She works against what is expected of her. Her love is what defines her, rather than her monstrousness.
On the run with two people who, for their own reasons, wish her dead, Melanie is forced to confront the reality of her condition. The most touching bit – and it chokes me up to think about it, is when we are reminded that Melanie is a little girl. At one point she’s given new clothes for the first time in her life, and can’t believe how beautiful they are. Unicorn jeans! Gah! What a terribly written review this is. But I don’t want to give too much away – if you haven’t read this, you need to discover it yourself, then you can join me in wailing “unicorn jeans!” and clutching at your chest.
This big book of monsters makes us question who the heroes really are.
All that said, I bet I’m too scared to see the film…