Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A. S. King

Once upon a time I decided that some things are popular because they are just that good.  Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future was totally one of those things for me.  I kept hearing great reviews about it then I heard an interview with King that made me want to read the book.  Sometimes it’s just nice to hear from another feminist, nice to see that someone out there is thinking about the same things I am.

If you want the short version, this is the story of Glory who drinks petrified bat mixed with beer with her best friend, Ellie, and then can see everyone’s infinite past and much more finite futures.  There’s more, though.  The future Glory sees in terrifying.  There is a second civil war and women lose all rights and end up treated like property.  The pasts that Glory sees are usually riddled with war as well.  Still, it’s even more than that.  It’s the story of Glory’s past and her fears for her own future and in the end it’s about making a decision to live or die.

Glory’s world is complicated.  Her mother committed suicide when she was only four.  Her best friend lives in a hippie commune that could be a cult.  Her father and her are stuck in their own holes.  King does a great job making everything feel real and believable and she handles Glory’s visions wonderfully.  I was really concerned that the “transmissions” would disrupt the story but they add to it instead.  Ellie is a kind of foil to Glory, worrying about the things that Glory finds trivial.

I loved the questions this book brought up.  I loved how Glory’s mother was always questioning.  What makes a rock a rock?  I loved that Glory was unwilling to give in to expectations and that she was always thinking about something that wasn’t always herself.

This was a great read and I’m glad I had it with me while I was stuck home, sick.


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