The Glimpse – book review

The Glimpse by Claire Merle

The Glimpse is the first book in its series, written by Claire Merle.

In the future, society is split into two groups based on the results of a DNA test. The ‘Pures’ and the ‘Crazies’. The ‘Pures’ are the people who are allowed to live with society. Outside lives the mentally-ill ‘Crazies’. When 17 year-old Ana find out that she is a person with the disease and will enevitably become Active, her whole life turns upside down. She’s been living the luxuary life as a Pure, but as soon as the authorities find out what she really is, they will banish her from her safe Community.

Ana’s only hope is to get joined to Jasper. Jasper comes from a rich an influential family and despite knowing Ana’s ‘condition’, he still wants to be with her. The authorities tell Ana that if she joins Jasper before her 18th birthday, she can stay in the Community until she becomes Active. If Jasper changes his mind, she will be outcast and forced to live among the other ‘Crazies’. Ana allows herself to hope that she will live a normal life… until Jasper disappears.

Finding Jasper is Ana’s only hope. So she sneaks out of the Community to find him. Ana discovers some shocking truths that change everything she has grown up believing in.

I was very excited to start reading this book. From its synopsis on Goodreads, it sounded really intriguing. However when I began reading it, I found it confusing and this dystopian world took a while for me to understand how it all worked. The chapters seemed disjointed and it was hard to understand what was going on. But I persisted in the hope that this book would get better. I understand that some books are hard to get into, but then they are amazing. I’ve read quite a few books like that. I really hoped that this would be the case with this book because I wanted to know how this messed-up society worked and how the protagonist was going to fix it. The more I found out about this future society, the more I didn’t like it. In this version of the future, society is split up into two groups: Pures and Crazies. The ‘Pures’ are the people who are ‘normal’ and don’t have a mental issue, as determined by a test every person must undergo. The ‘Crazies’ are the people with a mental illness. There are three main mental illnesses, labelled the Big 3. These are schizophrenia, depression and anxiety. The book says that 40% of people is Active or ‘Crazy’, a Sleeper (someone guaranteed to become Active at some point) or a Carrier of the genes responsible. I’ve talked to a few people who have read this book and some of them found it offensive. I can see where they’re coming from because the people with a mental illness are called ‘Crazy’ and are portrayed as people who are lower than the ‘normal’ people who are ‘Pure’. However, I didn’t find this book that offensive. I understand that people might have a problem with this book because of the way it talks about people with mental illnesses, but we all need to keep in mind this is just a book and it’s set in a dystopian future. All dystopian futures are meant to be bad in some way, that’s what makes them so exciting to read about. Personally, dystopia is one of my favourite genres to read. I get that some people think that this book took things a bit too far by calling mentally ill people ‘Crazy’, but I know this isn’t real and the author had no intention of making people angry over this. As I kept reading this book, I realised that I would rather be a ‘Crazy’ and live my life the way I wanted, rather than live as a ‘Pure’ in a world where everything was controlled.
One thing I liked most about this book was the part when a character (I won’t say who and I promise I won’t spoil anything J) went to a place where all the mentally ill people go. This was by far my favourite part of the book and the most engaging part to read. I just got so furious with the way these people were treated. I love it when a book can make me feel such strong emotions. This part of the book reminded me a bit of The Program by Suzanne Young, which I absolutely loved, which was probably why I liked this part in the book. Another thing I liked about this book was Cole. Cole was funny and simply likable. I kept reading mainly to see how things would work out with him and a certain person. I found it hard to connect with Ana in the beginning, but as the story progressed, I came to feel for her a bit more. There was nothing too special about her as a character, but I could follow her story with mild interest.
Unfortunately, this time the bad things outweigh the good things about this book for me. The main thing that I didn’t like about this book was that everything was drama drama drama non-stop. Everything happened right after one big thing had just ended and it seemed the main character was constantly being put in the line of danger. Okay, that sounds like it should be a good thing. Trust me on this, there was so much going on that I couldn’t catch my breath, but not in a good way. It seemed that sometimes there was just drama for the sake of drama. Have you ever heard that the main character should be climbing a metaphorical tree with metaphorical rocks being thrown at them along the way? Well that’s how a novel should work. With this book, the main character was scaling a metaphorical skyscraper while the metaphorical King Kong kept flicking the person off the side of the building. Sound like fun? Uh, no. Things were just so busy that we seemed to loose sight of what the really important task of the book was. Halfway through the book, I even forgot what the point of this book was. That’s not a good thing. I also really didn’t like the ending of this book. I know that there’s a second book in this series, but really? After all I’d gone through and that’s the ending? I was waiting for the revolution and I wanted to know how this messed-up world was going to get sorted out. But no. Do I have to read the next book for that? Unfortunately, that won’t be happening. Overall, I didn’t really enjoy reading this book. There were aspects of it that I enjoyed, but this book wasn’t for me. I’d give The Glimpse by Claire Merle a score of 4 out of 10. If you know you won’t get offended by parts of this book and if this sounds like something you’d enjoy, go for it. Tell me what you think!

Thank you to Allen & Unwin Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review.

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