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Gather the Daughters

Tekijä: Jennie Melamed

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
4802952,327 (3.58)17
Fantasy. Fiction. Literature. HTML: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.
… (lisätietoja)
  1. 10
    Orjattaresi (tekijä: Margaret Atwood) (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: In both dystopian novels, something terrible has happened, replacing the world we know with a patriarchal society in which knowledge is carefully rationed and women live extremely narrow, oppressed lives.
  2. 00
    When the English Fall (tekijä: David Williams) (sturlington)
  3. 00
    Vox (tekijä: Christina Dalcher) (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: In both books, women and girls, tired of being victims of horrific abuse for the crime of being female, find ways to fight back. While both novels are intensely disturbing, Gather the Daughters is more deeply so.
  4. 00
    The Water Cure (tekijä: Sophie Mackintosh) (susanbooks)
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 29) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
It's a harsh story, beautifully written. ( )
  bjsikes | Jan 30, 2023 |
Following an apocalyptic event and destruction of civilization, a small assemblage of the devout escape the mainland and resettle on an island. Thereafter, the only individuals who leave the island are the wanderers, who venture out by boat to scavenge resources. Due to the constraints of the land's area and the number of people it can support, when adults are past childrearing years they take their "final draught" to end their lives, making their home and occupations available to the next generation. Everyone seems to have always accepted the status quo, until the newest generation of preteen girls smells a rat.

The two thirds of the book were a completely engrossing, and increasingly disturbing, dystopia. At some point the storyline began to feel deflated, as though it had out of steam, as well as unrealistic and unbelievable, even within the bounds of the genre. ( )
  ryner | Aug 22, 2022 |
This was a rather disturbing story. Unputdownable, but disturbing none the less. It did not have a happy ending, or really an ending at all. (Which makes me wonder if the author may be planning a sequel or if it's just one of those books that stays forever in your brain and you never get the closure you need!! Ugh!!) Reminded me a little of the M. Night Shymalan movie The Village or The City of Ember books where the characters, most of them, believe their dystopian society is the only one that exists because the rest of the outside world has suffered an enormous catastrophe. And until one brave person (ironically all brave women/girls in these stories) begin to ask questions, people just go on believing and blindly following the powers that be. Unfortunately, of the main characters in this story, only one makes it out alive. And it's not even the one who truly believed there could or should be change! Thus making the sacrifice of the others that much greater. I only gave it three stars because the subject matter was just so dark and ugly and the ending just really left you hanging, wondering if her situation was actually going to be better or not once she was able to get out. ( )
  Jen-Lynn | Aug 1, 2022 |
The Organized Abuse of Women and Children

Jennie Melamed’s debut novel Gather the Daughters could not be more timely as it comes on the heels of the #MeToo movement, the Weinstein case, and a U.S. president with a history of abusing women, not to mention supporting others doing the same. In Melamed’s novel, the abuse begins early, with the male members of her fictional patriarchal religious cult having sex with their daughters prior to puberty, before turning these children over to other men for marriage and child bearing shortly after puberty. All this is done in the service of escaping and living free of what they call “the wasteland,” that is, our modern world, and perpetuating an isolated primitive agrarian and tradesman barter society. This cult featuring sexual abuse is not without real life precedent. One has only to recall some recent infamous examples, among them David Berg’s Children of God, David Koresh’s Branch Davidians, and Warren Jeffs’ Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Melamed paints the full picture of her fictional patriarchal cult through the eyes of a handful of girls on the verge of puberty. Janey proves the most rebellious. She is older then the others, slowly starving herself like an anorexia to forestall her puberty. She doesn’t want to end up like the other girls, married off immediately after puberty in what’s called the summer of fruition. These married off girls begin having babies immediately, though by the law of the religion they can only have two healthy children. That means they are mothers and women of the community when they are thirteen or so. Their mothers, then, are women in their mid to late twenties. There are no grandparents, because once people reach the end of their usefulness, they drink the draft and take their place buried in the fields. Janey leads the girls in a rebellion, which consists of leaving their homes, living on the beach, and foraging for their existence. Obviously, as the leaders, called Wanders (those who travel off the island for needed supplies), know this cannot go on forever. Vanessa is another girl with her doubts and own quieter rebellious tendency. Her father is one of the Wanders and, unlike his counterparts, is thoughtful and kind. You might even like him, if you can put out of your mind that he sleeps with his daughter. Crisis arrives in the form of a contagious illness that sweeps through this society, killing many, necessitating that the wanders seek new members from the outside. In some ways, the illness proves fortuitous, as all the island inbreeding has resulted in increasing defective birth.

What you have here are men exerting absolute control over women and children by isolating them, instilling discipline and fear by tailoring a religion to their desire, and by engaging in acts of abuse, rape, pedophilia, and murder. It’s not a pretty tale, but some may regard it as an exaggerated metaphor of how men have treated women over the ages. Pastor Saul sums up matters nicely after the great bout with disease and the restocking of the island with new recruits in his sermon, attributing the suffering to disobeying the ancestors:

“As I look upon us, I can see the reasons for their displeasure. We have strayed from them. We have strayed from their vision and their holiness. We clot up the minds of our daughters with useless knowledge, instead of taking the precious time to teach them to be a solace to their fathers. Wives have forgotten how to be a support to their husbands. We let our aged live too long, past their prime years, for the simple reason that our hearts are soft. Men are swayed by the words of women, by the words of wives and daughters who refuse to submit to their will as wives and daughters should.”

Well done about a world rational people would run screaming from. And, yet, these little worlds in degrees exist today. ( )
  write-review | Nov 4, 2021 |
The Organized Abuse of Women and Children

Jennie Melamed’s debut novel Gather the Daughters could not be more timely as it comes on the heels of the #MeToo movement, the Weinstein case, and a U.S. president with a history of abusing women, not to mention supporting others doing the same. In Melamed’s novel, the abuse begins early, with the male members of her fictional patriarchal religious cult having sex with their daughters prior to puberty, before turning these children over to other men for marriage and child bearing shortly after puberty. All this is done in the service of escaping and living free of what they call “the wasteland,” that is, our modern world, and perpetuating an isolated primitive agrarian and tradesman barter society. This cult featuring sexual abuse is not without real life precedent. One has only to recall some recent infamous examples, among them David Berg’s Children of God, David Koresh’s Branch Davidians, and Warren Jeffs’ Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Melamed paints the full picture of her fictional patriarchal cult through the eyes of a handful of girls on the verge of puberty. Janey proves the most rebellious. She is older then the others, slowly starving herself like an anorexia to forestall her puberty. She doesn’t want to end up like the other girls, married off immediately after puberty in what’s called the summer of fruition. These married off girls begin having babies immediately, though by the law of the religion they can only have two healthy children. That means they are mothers and women of the community when they are thirteen or so. Their mothers, then, are women in their mid to late twenties. There are no grandparents, because once people reach the end of their usefulness, they drink the draft and take their place buried in the fields. Janey leads the girls in a rebellion, which consists of leaving their homes, living on the beach, and foraging for their existence. Obviously, as the leaders, called Wanders (those who travel off the island for needed supplies), know this cannot go on forever. Vanessa is another girl with her doubts and own quieter rebellious tendency. Her father is one of the Wanders and, unlike his counterparts, is thoughtful and kind. You might even like him, if you can put out of your mind that he sleeps with his daughter. Crisis arrives in the form of a contagious illness that sweeps through this society, killing many, necessitating that the wanders seek new members from the outside. In some ways, the illness proves fortuitous, as all the island inbreeding has resulted in increasing defective birth.

What you have here are men exerting absolute control over women and children by isolating them, instilling discipline and fear by tailoring a religion to their desire, and by engaging in acts of abuse, rape, pedophilia, and murder. It’s not a pretty tale, but some may regard it as an exaggerated metaphor of how men have treated women over the ages. Pastor Saul sums up matters nicely after the great bout with disease and the restocking of the island with new recruits in his sermon, attributing the suffering to disobeying the ancestors:

“As I look upon us, I can see the reasons for their displeasure. We have strayed from them. We have strayed from their vision and their holiness. We clot up the minds of our daughters with useless knowledge, instead of taking the precious time to teach them to be a solace to their fathers. Wives have forgotten how to be a support to their husbands. We let our aged live too long, past their prime years, for the simple reason that our hearts are soft. Men are swayed by the words of women, by the words of wives and daughters who refuse to submit to their will as wives and daughters should.”

Well done about a world rational people would run screaming from. And, yet, these little worlds in degrees exist today. ( )
  write-review | Nov 4, 2021 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 29) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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Fantasy. Fiction. Literature. HTML: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.

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