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Global civil society is being threatened by a system based on power and not on human values. Day after day it represses basic freedoms and consistently favors the greed of the few over the needs of the many. This power finances wars, food and pharmaceutical monopolies, it sponsors dictatorial regimes across the globe, destroying environments, manipulating and censoring information flow and transparency.

From Occupy Together 

I really don’t know that much about the “Occupy” movement.  I will be the first one to admit that I may not know nearly as much as I should about the many political and social movements in the U.S. today.  I have a Political Science degree, I should care (but I am pretty jaded nowadays).  Well anyway, I just finished Oryx and Crake the other night and the world that Margaret Atwood created was frighteningly realistic to me.  It reminded me of the “Occupy” movements, justifiably or not.

The Bookcover

Let me start at the beginning… I was introduced to Snowman. He was alone living in the woods/beach.  There are others around but I got the feeling that they were not like him.  As I got further into the book, I found out how different they really were.  At any rate, the book kept me reading. I wanted to know how the world got this way.  I wanted to know who Oryx and Crake were (I mean that is the name of the book, right?).

What awaited me was a book with powerful (and sometimes wordy) prose and careful character development… Snowman was not a perfect man, in fact, I found him a little repulsive.  He did not start out that way, but sadly he did not turn out that well.  He childhood friend, Crake, was brillant.  I got the feeling he would turn out to live a good life… but I also could see that he had a dark side. Oryx was not in the book nearly as often as the boys, but when introduced to her, I could see that she had a very hard childhood.  Sadly, in the end, she seemed the least damaged to me.  In the end, all the characters were flawed.  This was not one of those books were I could say that so and so was a hero… because I don’t know if this book actually had a hero in it.

So, why did this book remind me of the “Occupy” movement?  Well, it seemed that the corporations ruled.  They had compounds that were only accessible to those who worked for their companies.  The corporations were the ones with the money and the power.   The corporations were coming up with ways to make things cheaper and faster to produce, but it also meant it put farmers and smaller companies out of business.  The Pleebands (where most of the population lived) were desolate and horrible places.

The society she created was even more deplorable because things like child pornography, executions, and other things that make most of us ill were tolerated and were entertaining.  The options were few and far between for most people to get ahead and unfortunately this was a way for people to make money.

What made this story so hard for me to read was that it was plausible… I could see what from our society she drew her “inspiration” from.  If she had written it now, I would have thought she might have drawn inspiration from the “Occupy” movement (or maybe she just saw that there was a problem growing).

As a mother, this book scared me.  I would hate to think that my kids would have to grow up in a world like the one in the book.  As a consumer, it made me ill.  Sometimes, the best things are natural.  Just because something can be made better, I am not necessarily sure it should be.  As a reader, I found it to be a well written and thought provoking book.  Wasn’t the easiest to read… I found I did better by reading just a little a day (sandwiched between lighter and  fanciful books).  I am glad I read it though and then quickly passed it to my husband, because it is one of those books I found I wanted to discuss.

So, if you know about the “Occupy” movement, does it seem like I made a good connection?  Have you read Oryx and Crake and did you get something completely different from it?

I also feel bad that I was not funnier in this post. This book was one of those books that is hard to joke about.   There is really nothing funny about the end of civilization as we know it, is there? So I thought I would end this post with something that will hopefully make you smile…