Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Lorena's Review of The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen
This has been stashed away for some time, but I think I was finally able to get my point across.
Mason has never known his father, but longs to. All he has of him is a DVD of a man whose face is never seen, reading a children’s book. One day, on a whim, he plays the DVD for a group of comatose teens at the nursing home where his mother works. One of them, a beautiful girl, responds. Mason learns she is part of a horrible experiment intended to render teenagers into autotrophs—genetically engineered, self-sustaining life-forms who don’t need food or water to survive. And before he knows it, Mason is on the run with the girl, and wanted, dead or alive, by the mysterious mastermind of this gruesome plan, who is simply called the Gardener.
Will Mason be forced to destroy the thing he’s longed for most?
Someone asked me about this book a few days ago, and when I tried to tell them what I thought about it, I was completely stumped (no pun intended). I had such conflicting feelings, that it took me a good half hour to properly voice my thoughts.
S.A. Bodeen's The Gardener is an enjoyable read, no doubt about it. It follows Mason and the mysterious girl he rescues (who I wont name) as they discover the dark secrets hidden by TroDyn, a huge science complex that owns and supports most businesses in Mason's hometown. Through their adventure, it describes one of many possible futures (or presents if you will) that is both intriguing, and frightening at the same time. It made me question myself about how I live my consumerist life, and how that will affect my family in the years to come. So many controversial topics brought up, like world hunger and human engineering, so much build up and so much suspense. I'm not gonna lie, this book kept me on my toes. I wanted to know who was behind this, how were they going to solve everything. So many questions that just kept me turning the pages, and just like that, it ends. Not in a "To be Continued" matter, but more of a Deus ex machina conclusion. I finished this book more frustrated than was really necessary, and I just asked myself. Why? Why end it so abrupt?
Now, Mason and the mysterious girl are two very likable characters, and are easy to relate to, but once again are left short. Mason is constantly referred to by his friends as a "hero", they constantly tell him he doesn't have to solve the worlds problems. But I kept wondering why? What is it that makes him have this personality, this need to be the hero. He just steps into the picture ready to save the world, ready to save this girl without so much as a second thought. I wish I understood what need he had to do these things. To suddenly go against everything he's ever know for a girl he's known little over five minutes. Some would call it love, and I've seen it work in certain situations. But in the case of Mason, well, I just had a hard time believing it.
To be honest, even after all the frustration I went through after reading The Gardner, I'd still recommend it to readers. The concepts and topics brought up are very interesting, and I'm happy with how Bodeen chose to address them. My warning comes at the end, to be prepared for the ambiguously open ending, that leaves you with more questions than there are answers for. My only hope is that you won't end up as frustrated as I did.