I'm trying to just get my book "reviews" out there instead of waiting till I can do it juuust right and never doing it.
I finished reading this pretty late last night and I think it got into my dreams. Tsk. It was recommended by co-workers who warned me it was sad and a particular plot point was easier to take because I was prepared for it.
Except for one bit of plot I didn't find it to be sad, just a real page turner. It is sort of a prolonged chase from beginning to end.
Todd will reach manhood at thirteen. He is the last boy in his all male settlement. When you reach thirteen you become a man. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts thanks to a disease inherent on the planet this group has settled on. There are only men because women were killed by the disease. As far as Todd knows, they are the last survivors on the planet.
One day however, Todd is in the swamps with his unappreciated dog companion Manchee and he meets a girl. Impossible, but there she is. Even more impossible, he cannot read her thoughts. After a short lifetime of finding ways to block out the random chaotic thoughts of his fellows, this "silence" is beyond unnerving for him.
He rescues her from Aaron, a shamblingly evil man who cannot be killed or even slowed down, it seems. In his confusion over this incident and the finding of the girl, he returns home to find his guardians are packing his bags and that they are determined to set him on the road on his own to escape something they will not name.
Joining him on the journey is the dog Manchee who is simple yet loyal and the girl who says nothing and apparently thinks nothing. Todd has a map that he can barely read and the directive to run and get away from Prentisstown as fast as he can.
He soon finds that the entire town is in pursuit of him and his companions as he runs and runs trying to stay ahead of them.
The developing relationship between Todd and the girl Viola is a representation of what the larger society should be, but is not. Todd is not just the last boy in his settlement, he is the last hope for everyone as he acts to fight his inner chaos, and to deny that he can be shaped by the thoughts of others.