Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North

I recently read and enjoyed The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North so when I saw a blurb about The Sudden Appearance of Hope, I decided to pick it up.  It just got in at the library after I put a hold on it and, ignoring the impending due dates of other books on my shelf, I picked it up to read a couple days ago. 

Hope is unrememberable.  While a striking looking woman, she just doesn't stay in people's memory past the short term.  Every time you meet her is the first time.  This is true even for her parents when she reaches a certain age.  Leading a conventional life is difficult when people don't remember you.  Hope becomes a thief to survive.  And she's a very good one.  When she meets a woman that she actually likes when casing a mark and the woman commits suicide, Hope steals out of anger, starting a chain of events where her existence is threatened.  Central to the story is an app called Perfection where points are earned by eating right, exercising, buying certain things, and, generally, doing all you can to be your perfect self.

My feelings about this book are a little mixed.  On the one hand, I did want to know what was going to happen and never even considered not finishing.  On the other hand, I didn't really like Hope all that much and I have a bit of a tough time reading books when I don't like the main character.  Additionally, I really felt like the book had an agenda it was pushing about striving for perfection, relying on apps to make choices and many issues related to these concepts, including lack of privacy online.  It's not that I don't enjoy thinking about these things.  I do.  But that was part of the problem.  Nothing was really brought up that I don't already think about, but it was brought up with a certain amount of breathlessness associated with discovering these things for the first time that I found a little bit annoying.

That said, I still liked the book more than not and I'm going to set it aside to see if Davan's interested in reading it.  She comes home on Friday, so I can actually share books with her (unless the due date is too pressing, as with my next two reads).

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