I love books for the way they can drop a question into your mind, light a spark and leave you to examine it. Who Runs the World? by Virginia Bergin (Macmillan) is a book that does just that. It’s a book that makes you think and, above all, question. What would it be like? What would I do? What do I believe?
‘Welcome to the matriarchy. Sixty years after a virus has wiped out almost all the men on the planet, things are pretty much just as you would imagine a world run by women might be: war has ended; greed is not tolerated; the ecological needs of the planet are always put first. In two generations, the female population has grieved, pulled together and moved on, and life really is pretty good – if you’re a girl. It’s not so great if you’re a boy, but fourteen-year-old River wouldn’t know that. Until she met Mason, she thought they were extinct.’
There’s a lot to love in this book. I was hooked from the very first page. No, before that. I was hooked before I’d finished reading the blurb. The concept of this book is so big and bold and I was afraid that the book wouldn’t live up to it. But for me it totally did. Because Bergin hasn’t tried to give us answers. Instead she has imagined and explored a scenario and created it in a way that draws the contemporary reader in and makes us think and imagine the answers for ourselves. She explores stereotypes and encourages us to think about how we perceive gender and society.
In Who Runs the World? Bergin has reimagined the teens and young adults of today’s society as the grandmummas in her book. It’s a brilliant device to enable her to use contemporary idiom in the book and to help us place ourselves in the story. We would be those grandmummas. We would be living that life and seeing through their eyes and experience. It also helps the reader to imagine our own futures and where we could be as a society. Where we want to be. What kind of a world we want to live in.
This is a book that you could race through and enjoy for it’s story. But it is also a book that you can, and should, sit with. Take time over. Think about. Talk about. It’s the kind of book that will give back what you put in. I wish it was out in the world earlier in the year so that lots of young adults could read it and think about the questions it raises and their own answers to those questions. Because this is a book that will make people want to have a voice and stand up to make their future better. And by the time they read this they will have missed their chance to vote to do so.
You can get your copy here
Source – e-book kindly sent for review by the publisher.