When the end of days comes, annihilation does not occur evenly. Although the plague wipes out most of humanity, the recovery rate of men was ten times the rate of women.
A midwife was one of the few survivors. After surviving a rape attempt, she leaves San Francisco and her identity behind, disguised as a man and armed with a stockpile of contraceptives.
Why is this on our bookshelf?
A plague wiping out humanity is a classic science fiction plot device. A plague wiping out most of humanity but leaving vastly more men than women and children, is even more fascinating.
The Book of the Unnamed Midwife was the winner of the 2014 Philip K. Dick Award.
Rating (4 stars)
Brutal and poignant, the Book of the Unnamed Midwife was compelling in its portrayal of a plague-ravaged world.
And when I say compelling, I mean it. There were times when I wanted to set it down and take a break but had to keep reading instead.
At times, following the story can be exhausting. Most of it is told through the main character’s diary, which is often in short sentences or stream-of-consciousness writing. But without warning, it will jump into omniscient narration, which can be jarring. I’m not sure I liked it, but it does give the novel a very unique voice.
What author Meg Elison does so well is explore the consequences that would occur when the ratio of men to women is drastically out of balance.
The main character, the eponymous ‘unnammed midwife,’ can take care of herself. As she encounters other survivors, the variety of people showcase the best and worst of humanity.
Read this book:
If you need a new appreciation for the miracle of life.
Don't Read this book:
If you happen to be pregnant. Unless you’d like nightmares.
Once you're done, do this:
Stock up on contraceptives. Just in case.