Saturday, 4 August 2012

Revealing Eden: Callous Or Throught-Provoking?

Here is the blurb found on Amazon:

"Eden Newman must mate before her 18th birthday in six months or she'll be left outside to die in a burning world. But who will pick up her mate-option when she's cursed with white skin and a tragically low mate-rate of 15%? In a post-apocalyptic, totalitarian, underground world where class and beauty are defined by resistance to an overheated environment, Eden's coloring brands her as a member of the lowest class, a weak and ugly Pearl. If only she can mate with a dark-skinned Coal from the ruling class, she'll be safe. Just maybe one Coal sees the Real Eden and will be her salvation—her co-worker Jamal has begun secretly dating her. But when Eden unwittingly compromises her father's secret biological experiment, she finds herself in the eye of a storm—and thrown into the last area of rainforest, a strange and dangerous land. Eden must fight to save her father, who may be humanity's last hope, while standing up to a powerful beast-man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction. Eden must change to survive but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty and of love, along with a little help from her "adopted aunt" Emily Dickinson."

Yup, you read that right.

“Save the Pearls” is a vanity published YA novel trying to bill itself as the next “The Hunger Games.” The publisher says that “‘Save the Pearls turns the tables on racism.’”

It uses blackface as a plot device.

In author Victoria Foyt’s futuristic world, no one wants to mate with white people--or “pearls”--considered to be the ugliest humans oppressed by people of color. In order to survive, they must put on blackface make up to be attractive to the ruling class of “coals.” Hoyt explains: “their stunningly dark skin that carries the greatest amount of melanin…makes them the strongest, most powerful race alive.” The protagonist is a white girl who must smear her face with “midnight luster” make up in order to protect herself from radiation and in order to look beautiful to the oppressive “coals” in hopes that they will mate with her.

The rule in Eden’s post-apocalyptic world is: the darker the skin, the higher the mate-rate. Other factors calculated into one’s mate-rate include wealth or employment status. For example, Ronson Bramford, a handsome Coal titan of industry, is at the top of the heap with a mate rate of 98%. At age twenty-two, he only has two years left in which to mate--or else he’d probably have a 100% mate-rate. Tiger’s-Eyes, or Latinos, usually rate above Ambers, or Asians, in the future race wars. White-skinned Pearls offer little resistance to The Heat, and therefore, are at the bottom. Only a Cotton, or Albino, would be lower.”

The author has since posted a lengthly article in defense of her book (particularly its cover) on the Huffingtonpost. In it she says:

"First, consider that the basis of all prejudice is judging a book by its cover. To condemn any book on the basis of its cover is hardly different than condemning a total stranger because of the color of his/her skin. How can you critique or damn a book if you haven't read it? This kind of blind attack is exactly what creates racism or condemned many progressives as communists in the Fifties."

"Revealing Eden is a sci-fi fantasy adventure romance. And while it is a work of fiction, the premise is all too believable in the face of extreme global warming. So yes, this book is meant to provoke the white community that has never experienced racism or been oppressed because they have been in the majority in this country."

You can read the rest here.

Personally, I find it interesting but the execution is terrible. First of all, implying that a woman, of any creed or race, MUST mate with a man for survival is poor plotting. The author is erasing fifty plus years of women's rights so many ladies have fought for in a single swish of her thumb. This would've been a literary knockout had the author taken the time to analyze racial hierarchy in a serious setting. But for what it's worth, I do give her kudos for attempting something like this. I'm pretty sure a few writers have thought of this sort of thing but dared not attempt it for fear of backlash. As we speak, the Amazon reviews for this Kindle e-book stand at 212, with 3/4 of that 1 star reviews.

What do you think of this book? Throught-provoking or racially insensitive? 


ryan field said...

I would have to read the book before I could comment. But I have been seeing a great deal mentioned about this book and the author. There are some who claim not all the reviews are valid, and that people have allegedly been leaving negative reviews without reading it first. I don't know if this is true or not. I do find it interesting that a book like this could generate so much attention. I'm on the fence about reading it based on what little info I have right now.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

I find the book to be racially insensitive. This "whining" by the white ruling class is not a new argument. Nor is it one that I believe. This book comes from the same source material as white supremacy hate groups trying to convince the world that whites are now a minority in America. A true commentary on racism is Planet of the Apes. This thing sounds like a copycat of Margaret Atwood's "A Handmaiden's Tale" only it seeks to paint black people as the villains and then justify this as "it turns the tables on racism" which it clearly does not. It simply villifies black people which is cliche at best. It's just more dystopian garbage billing itself as the next Hunger Games.

T.D. McFrost said...

Well said Michael!

Jessica L. Foster said...

Hmmm It sort of sounds like an interesting premise, but I'm just not sure. Thanks for the review.

Sabrina A. Fish said...

Hmmm...I would have to read it to form a full opinion. It doesnt' soundlike anything I'd actually buy.

Are you participating in the "What if?" blogfest? I came over to see, because I just knew you'd come up with something awesome! Hint, Hint: There is still time if you are interested! *wink*

Danielle B. said...

I would need to read the book but unless a book is coined as non-fiction and this was the topic then I'd be a little miffed but since its not, then I'd probably just read as its written without trying to find something in between the lines. Its to be thought provoking not to start a civil war. I'd read it just to be entertained but that's as far as it would go.

Michael Di Gesu said...

I haven't heard about this book... It sound disturbing on so many levels. As you had pointed out the whole "mating" thing isn't right.

As for the racial twist, (raises eye brow) I inclined to think it could work if done right. I'd have to read the book before I would even comment on this.

Thanks for the poignant review. Well done.

Stephanie said...

I can't say much without having read the book. The blurb makes it sound like a bit of a mess, and it really doesn't sound like it's doing anything new in terms of dealing with racism other than "turning the tables" so to speak. Other authors have done that, and better.

The mating bit doesn't bother me. That's also nothing new in the world of sci-fi/fantasy. Characters in a dystopian or backwards society being forced to mate; the mc finding themselves a member of the least desirable group; banishment or death upon failure to find a mate. It sounds pretty old hat as a plot device to me.

Regardless, I can't see why that particular plot point would be offensive. Forced marriages, and status based on mating eligibility are a part of human history.

KentC said...

I find it interesting the dim-witted bemused tone of the McDonald. I assumed you were a stupid pre-teen. Well at least I got the stupid part right.
Your ignorance is on par with most pond-scum, I must say.
Then again what do I expect from a chump who wrote (presumably with a straight-face) "The fact that most--not all--black people carry about themselves in such a "ghetto" fashion does not help to break this opinion either."

You don't know most or even some black people. That most --not all-- white people are as gleefully ignorant as yourself is why there's racism in the world and books such as this.
Wearing your racism as a badge of honor doesn't make you smart. It paints you as a fool. Shame you can't see that. Maybe you'll understand if you get a little older. Though I have to tell you little boy, you're sure off to a slow start.

Most black people do not comport themselves as anything other than normal people.
White trash behavior among causasians like yourself however, is far more common.
And think with chumps like you out there people wonder why book publishers, magazines and movie studios are so racist.

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