Saturday, August 28, 2010


Candor. Where the destination is perfection and subliminal messages are the way to get there.

Got a nasty smoking habit? Move to Candor. Is your marriage in trouble? Move to Candor. How about a rebellious child? Move to Candor. It'll fix everything and make your life just perfect. There's no need to worry about teen pregnancy. (Respectful space in every place.) And drugs? No. The people of Candor would never dream of such a thing.  Their bodies are temples. Not even chocolate or ice cream is served here. (Healthy breakfasts make for smart minds.) The children are never late to class. (The great are never late.) And would never dream of disobeying their parents. (Parents always know best.)

Oscar Banks has everyone fooled, even his father, the founder and creator of Candor. Daddy dearest thinks Oscar's the model citizen he's supposed to be thanks to the messages his father's been pouring into his and everyone else's brain, but Oscar creates messages of his own to fight back. (Remember the messages. Control the Messages; don't let them control you. Think independently.) He will remember his mother who left, and he will remember his dead brother no matter how much his father tries to erase them. Until Nia moves to town and everything Oscar's created may just fall apart.

Nia's not like the others.  She holds out a good week before the messages start to change her and in that week, Oscar falls in love. Now, just like he's done for others, he has to get her out before the messages erase her forever. But can he do it without losing himself in the process?

I love a good dystopian novel, especially when the created world in in the realm of possibility. That's what we have with Candor.

I'm reminded of the verse in the Bible that says, "Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it."  I've heard it said that the verse was talking about training a child "according to his bent." In other words, watch and learn what talents a child possesses and encourage that. How important it is for we parents to see our children for who they are and to encourage those characteristics that make them individuals. Yes, we train them to be good citizens, to act appropriately, but how often have we wanted something for our children, maybe even pushed them a certain direction merely because the activity was something we wanted? Are we making our children be the people we want them to be or the people God created them to be? Are we suppressing their characteristics in lieu of ones we think are better? Yes, of course we need to teach them right from wrong. And we should allow them to experience things they may not want to experience. Pushing them is necessary sometimes, but do we do so to their own expense? Do we make them out to be little robots of our own liking or do we like who they will choose to become?

Maybe you know first hand what it's like to be molded into something you didn't want. Or maybe you're that person whose parents let you be you. As for Oscar, you'll have to read to see if he comes out a better man.


  1. I saw that book when it came into the library and I thought it sounded very interesting. Books like this always give me flashbacks of 10th grade Global Studies and make me think of Stalinist Russia. I think in a society like that, where the people are oppressed and live in fear, it's bound to collapse sooner or later. You have to have a flawless system and perfect control - otherwise, just like a windshield, all you need is one tiny piece to crack and the whole thing shatters. I've liked other books like this - The Giver comes to mind. =)

  2. Love, love, love The Giver!!! It's one of my all time favorites. Apparently, I told Beth to order this book. Must have been one of my choices from the magazines because I didn't remember it even after she gave it to me. It's really good. I liked it a lot.