The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey

giftsOne of my favorite reads of the summer, this book has it all: great characters and story; a fun, almost movie-like plot  (it will be a movie this fall); and really thoughtful writing.  It’s a book I’d recommend this book to both science fiction lovers and non-science fiction readers (similar to, say, The Martian). It’s a zombie book, but like Station Eleven, it’s more than that.

So that’s a lot of hype, and for some this book might not live up to all that.  I will say that especially in the beginning parts, this book is on the disturbing side and got pretty hard for me to read at night without seriously creeping into my dreams.  It’s a near-future post-apocalypse where the zombies are out in force and the remaining humans are living on a guarded base.  There’s a group of children who are “special” — one of those children is Melanie, and the story is told from her point of view.  Every morning the children are handcuffed, at gunpoint, into wheelchairs.  Then they are wheeled into a classroom.  At night they are returned to their locked rooms.

It’s a miserable existence, but the children don’t know any differently, and the teachers do their best to keep it interesting — one of the teachers in particular.  Melanie loves Miss Justineau, who makes every day special and exciting.

This is one of those books where I don’t want to tell you much about what happens.  I loved the way the story unfolds, and the way the characters of Melanie and Miss Justineau develop.  It also raises interesting issues about medical experimentation and humanity.  What makes someone a human being, and when do the needs of medical science outweigh human decency?

Some of the reviews on Amazon raise criticisms that the first part of the book has a very different tone from the second part of the book. I didn’t mind that, but I’m open to discussion.

I had few expectations of this book and was glad I went into it knowing very little.  So I’ve tried to keep this review just as brief.  This is a book that defies genre categorization, raises tons of interesting issues, and is a fun (and scary) read, all at the same time.

10 Responses to “The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey”

  1. Book Club Mom

    I hadn’t heard of this one – I’ve read The Martian and Station Eleven so now I’m curious about how it fits in, and stands out!

    • curlygeek04

      If you liked those two, I think you’ll like this one — although all three are completely different. Let me know if you give it a try!

  2. Elle

    It’s good, isn’t it? When I read it (two or three years ago) I also thought that the pacing was very movie-esque, and I think Carey originally wrote it as a film treatment. It’s a nice example of a book that you don’t have to work too hard at, but that isn’t brainless either.

    • curlygeek04

      I’m looking forward to it! I think this book will make a perfect movie, and it looks like they made some interesting casting choices…

  3. Redhead

    Such a good book!!! When I first heard what the premise of this book was, I remember thinking to myself “this is SO not for me”, but once I was about 15 pages in I was absolutely hooked.

  4. Zezee

    I didn’t know this was optioned for a movie. I’ve heard such great things about it that I’d also like to give it a try.


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