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Gather the Daughters: A Novel by Jennie…
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Gather the Daughters: A Novel (edition 2017)

by Jennie Melamed (Author)

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2111780,888 (3.54)12
Member:jasonpettus
Title:Gather the Daughters: A Novel
Authors:Jennie Melamed (Author)
Info:Little, Brown and Company (2017), 352 pages
Collections:Your library
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Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed

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» See also 12 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
One of the most haunting books I have read this year. Told from the perspective of several girls/women, the story unfolds with a quiet eeriness. She raises many questions through the various tales with echoes of great authors--Golding in the summer squabbles while children run wild left to their own devices; Atwood in the post-apocalyptic religious overtones, gender tensions, and reproductive/sexual activity; LeGuin in the willingness of the adults to harm children in the name of safety and what will drive good people to reject such safety.
( )
  4leschats | Oct 22, 2018 |
This was masterfully crafted. An excellent recommendation for all the people watching The Handmaid's Tale right now or who want a dystopian tale that pulls in issues of religion, patriarchy, and reproduction. It was vague in excellent places that keep you from fully understanding this world and explicit to make sure you don't get lost. The ending was abrupt, but not in a bad way. This book wouldn't be so powerful if we saw all the answers at the end. ( )
  mmaestiho | Sep 20, 2018 |
Gather the Daughters takes a familiar trope and ups the ante. Many novels explore what happens when people, often repressed or with little power, question their roles in society. Yet, few go to the extremes Ms. Melamed’s debut novel does. With her study of family dynamics and the power each familial role holds in a highly patriarchal society, what she has to say not just shocks the senses but is quite memorable as well. For better or worse, you finish her novel forever changed, a rare thing in this day and age.

For not being remotely explicit in the roles of daughter, father, mother, and son, Ms. Melamed makes her points with disturbing clarity. From the opening page, readers experience discomfort without understanding why they feel this way. After all, there is nothing overt about the characters or the story that should make readers uncomfortable. Still, the feeling remains without being able to pinpoint its source. However, sentence by sentence, Ms. Melamed paints a picture not easy to ignore or avoid. The painting may be impressionistic, but there is no doubt as to its meaning and the truth displays itself in all its unsettling glory.

Gather the Daughters is like a dystopian novel on steroids. Children are not killing children, and there is no big bad government trying to rule the world. However, what does exist on the island challenges the fabric of society. It makes you question the original ancestors and the rules they established for their new society. It makes you question the ideas of obedience and the parent-child relationship as well as the more generic adult-child relationship. There are no easy answers to any of what Ms. Melamed posits; the questions alone are disturbing enough to make you wonder if you even want to know the answers. Yet, no matter how much you might wish otherwise, Gather the Daughters is not a novel easily dismissed. It finds a way to sneak into your soul, emerging when you least expect it and forcing you to examine the novel compared today’s society.
  jmchshannon | Sep 14, 2018 |
This has been described a post-apocalyptic dystopia but it’s nothing of the kind. A small religious community ekes out an existence on an island off the coast of the “wastelands”. The novel is told through the narrative of several girls in the community – all aged about twelve or thirteen, and yet to go through puberty. Once they have done so, they will be married off and bear children. A fair few of which may prove to be “defectives” and killed at birth, if they survive it. Melamed tries hard to suggest this is a consequence of whatever apocalypse it was, epidemic or nuclear war, which turned the rest of the world into a wasteland. But it quickly becomes apparent that the girls are being abused nightly by their fathers, and that the community was set up specifically for that end. It also becomes patently obvious that there is no “wastelands” – the world outside has not changed. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it was the premise of M Night Shyamalan’s film The Village. So, a group of religious nutjobs founded a community which would allow them to abuse their daughters and treat their wives as chattel. Oh, and euthanise their old people when they no longer proved useful – and they’re not all that old, to be honest, late thirties, perhaps. I don’t know what world Melamed lives in, but these are all illegal and hugely immoral in the real world. I know the US loves its nutjob religious communities and let’s them get away with, well, murder… but the island in Gather the Daughters is only plausible if there really had been an apocalypse. To make matters worse, Melamed completely fails to comment on the world she has built. In crime fiction, the reader witnesses a murder, but then the murderer is brought to justice. The moral consequences of murder are shown. Melamed doesn’t bother. She normalises child abuse and misogyny. She treats the monsters she writes about with total seriousness but makes zero reference to its morality. And, as if that weren’t bad enough, the writing is terrible, the worst kind of creative writing programme prose. You know the phrase, “kill your darlings” that writer instructors like to parrot? If Melamed had done that, Gather the Daughters would have been a third its size. When I saw Gather the Daughters on the shortlist, I thought it looked interesting (after I’d thought, “shouldn’t it be Gather Your Daughters?”). Having now read it, I have to wonder why it was shortlisted. ( )
  iansales | Jun 10, 2018 |
Is it weird that I am drawn to dark stories? Because I was drawn to this one and I could not stop myself from reading all of this in one sitting. How do I begin to describe my experience with this book? Gather the Daughters does not really introduce any new concepts: there are plenty of dystopian novels that give men the power over women, and control breeding and number of offspring. The idea of knowledge being restricted is also not unique. However, there was something about this story that pulled me in and kept me interested. For one thing, this is not a novel you can read quickly; it has a slower pace and to enjoy it, you need to take your time with it. The story is told only from the perspectives of the daughters; there are no adults telling this tale. This is something I really liked because it gave a different outlook to the events. It actually made me more uncomfortable to read it from the voice of these girls who have never known a life outside of this one, who only have their laws to define things as "right" or "wrong", and who still are able to recognize when something being done to them is not okay. It's hard to read about their suffering, which only seems to grow as the story continues. Even though the concepts mentioned here are nothing new, this novel manages to pack a powerful punch. This is not an easy read by any standards, but it is a good one nevertheless. This novel is gripping, disturbing, and emotionally-charged. There is so much more I want to say about this novel, but I don't think I have the words. My final verdict? I'm giving this a 5/5 stars.

For more reviews, visit: www.veereading.wordpress.com ( )
  veeshee | Jan 29, 2018 |
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For my amazing, talented, magnificent Mom and Dad
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Vanessa dreams she is a grown woman, heavy with flesh and care. (Prologue)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316463655, Hardcover)

NEVER LET ME GO meets THE GIVER in this haunting debut about a cult on an isolated island, where nothing is as it seems.

Years ago, just before the country was incinerated to wasteland, ten men and their families colonized an island off the coast. They built a radical society of ancestor worship, controlled breeding, and the strict rationing of knowledge and history. Only the Wanderers--chosen male descendants of the original ten--are allowed to cross to the wastelands, where they scavenge for detritus among the still-smoldering fires.

The daughters of these men are wives-in-training. At the first sign of puberty, they face their Summer of Fruition, a ritualistic season that drags them from adolescence to matrimony. They have children, who have children, and when they are no longer useful, they take their final draught and die. But in the summer, the younger children reign supreme. With the adults indoors and the pubescent in Fruition, the children live wildly--they fight over food and shelter, free of their fathers' hands and their mothers' despair. And it is at the end of one summer that little Caitlin Jacob sees something so horrifying, so contradictory to the laws of the island, that she must share it with the others.

Born leader Janey Solomon steps up to seek the truth. At seventeen years old, Janey is so unwilling to become a woman, she is slowly starving herself to death. Trying urgently now to unravel the mysteries of the island and what lies beyond, before her own demise, she attempts to lead an uprising of the girls that may be their undoing.

GATHER THE DAUGHTERS is a smoldering debut; dark and energetic, compulsively readable, Melamed's novel announces her as an unforgettable new voice in fiction.

(retrieved from Amazon Sat, 04 Feb 2017 02:47:56 -0500)

A smoldering debut about an insular community on an island at the end of the world and the girls who start to question the rules that bind them.

(summary from another edition)

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