Thursday, December 17, 2009

Candor, by Pam Bachorz

This book was recommended by the Lateiner Gang (here's a link to their post), and I believe it was with quite good reason. What a thought-provoking read! Ha, I almost mean that literally, since it's mostly about hypnotizing or brainwashing and stuff. The main idea is that there's a small suburban community in Florida (the state I myself live in) where everything is absolutely perfect. You know why? Because all the children and teenagers are programmed like robots to always behave and do what their parents tell them and get stellar grades in school. Every kid in this small town, Candor, hears subconscious Messages that tell them things like "Respectful space in every place", so there's rarely any physical interaction, "The great are never late", so everyone is always on time for school and other appointments they have, and "Keep Candor beautiful," so no one ever vandalizes, graffitis or litters their perfect home.

The horrible, creepy thing is that this is going on without the kids' knowledge. The parents move them here so that whatever problems the teens have, they get completely erased with this brainwashing. They lose their free will and much of their original personality, and their brains become subconsciously addicted to these Messages. So when these kids become college age, you have to make sure that they listen to this special music, that the Messages are hidden in, every day, so that they don't go crazy and die. Yikes. =P Here's a definition of the word "candor" I found on Wikipedia: Candor is a virtue that is the quality of being open and honest in expression. i.e., frankness. How ironic. This town is anything but honest!

In the midst of all this, the son of the guy who founded this place, Oscar, is one of the few teens who are able to resist the Messages, because he is fully conscious of their existence. To his father, he seems like the perfect, model son, but he doesn't realize that Oscar makes a business out of helping kids who move into Candor escape, giving them alternative Messages to fight off the controlling Messages, so the teens keep their real selves. He makes a lot of big bucks out of this.

The story takes a turn when a new girl, Nia, moves into Candor, and Oscar falls in love. She rides a skateboard, she's an artist, and she likes M&Ms. It will be quite difficult to get her out of Candor, because how can he bear to be away from her? But on the other hand, he can't let the Messages crush her free, individual spirit. So what to do?

There's a whole lot more to the plot, but I figured that's all I need to reveal. The one thing I didn't like was how the book ended. I mean, from the start I realized that no matter what happened, it would have an unhappy ending, but I never could've predicted this! No, I won't spoil it for you. Go ahead and pick it up yourself! ^_~

No comments: