Blind Reading is something that’s new to me – and I don’t even know if that’s the official name for it, or if there is an official name for it, but by a ‘Blind Read’ I define it as starting a book with no idea what it’s about. The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R Carey was one of the few Blind Reads that I’ve done, and quite unintentionally.
I picked up The Girl With All the Gifts because I was in Waterstones (a typical occurrence) and I needed one more book for the ‘3 for 2’ deal. It was placed on a table surrounded by books with darker covers, so it stood out with it’s bright yellow cover. The blurb was a small extract from the book and that was it. I picked up this book at the beginning of the year and it sat patiently on my shelf up until a few weeks ago. I needed something to read on the tube to work, so I picked up my ‘To Be Read’ jar and picked out a piece of paper, which had The Girl With All the Gifts on it. Not one to challenge the jar, I took this books with me and started it – this was the first time that the journey felt painfully short.
Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.
When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite. But they don’t laugh.
My goodness. Goodness golly gumdrops. I mean, bloody hell. I was not expecting this book. I had definitely entered a reading slump when this book came bursting out with a baseball bat, swinging like there was no tomorrow. This book consumed me (which I want to make a pun about, so if you do read the book please come back to read this review again and tell me how you appreciate the inside joke so I don’t feel inadequate). I don’t know what I expected exactly, but it certainly wasn’t this. I thought, from the cover, that maybe this girl had superpowers, then from the blurb I thought she had some sort of disability and this was a pointed tale about discrimination against the disabled. I just can’t deal with it. If there was ever a book to get me back into the reading game, this is the one.
I want to start a proper review now about the fantastic language and the process of thought for different characters and the clever use of perspectives and pointed messages about what we take for granted and ugh just everything goddammit. But I can’t, because I don’t want to ruin this book because I think everyone just needs to pick this book up, read it, love it, and pass it on. When I understood what was actually happening, there was that wonderful ‘Ohh, it’s that kind of book‘ but up to that point there was this brilliant confusion that had you guessing at every page. It was like being in a hall of mirrors with no clue what was going on or where you were going, but you knew that something was going to happen. Maybe someone would jump out at you, maybe you’d reach the end and find candyfloss, maybe you’ll walk straight into a wall. Who the hell knows. It’s brilliant, it’s stupefying, and it will have you unable to deal with anything else. I spent most of my shift itching to get back to this bloody book so I could find out what was going on so I could get back to living my life.
If this doesn’t make you want to read the book, then I can’t force you, but seriously you need to go read this book. I need someone to read it so I can just vent about everything and discuss and whatnot SO if you do read it, leave a comment down below (but of course signpost for spoilers). This book turned me into a hungry reader.