Publication: 1987 by Penguin
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Dystopian
In The Chrysalids John Wyndham takes the reader into the anguished heart of a community where the chances of breeding true are less than 50 per cent and where the deviations are rooted out and destroyed as offences and abominations. The narrator of the Chrysalids is David, who can communicate with a small group of other young people by means of 'thought shapes'. This deviation from a cruelly rigid norm goes unnoticed at first. But sooner or later the secret is bound to be discovered, and the results are violent, horrific...and unbelievable.
The Chrysalids kind of changed my life. Kind of. I cannot stress too much on it other than the fact that it was literally a success and the true meaning is so relatable to our modern world today, but I could say that it is a pure dystopian classic. Imagine the book that Lois Lowry's The Giver was originally based on. John Wyndham threw this concept to life and into readers' hands, showing a book (with a horrible, hideous cover) that has so much meaning to it and relates to discrimination in society today. With Petra, Rosalind, David, Michael and the bunch of memorable characters, I would not ever change my experience with this story.
It all began with English class. A semester before, I had friends who read this. You know what this means. Friends who do not normally read (only when they are required to) usually have mixed feelings about a book. They could seriously adore everything my province's curriculum has chosen because they never experienced anything like it, or they could find it horrible and so utterly boring that they refuse to analyze it and look for similes and whatnot. Y'all are expecting me to say that I heard great things about this book. My friends hated this novel. I bet that they felt this way because teachers spend so much time on books and we have to do millions of presentations to make sure that we completely understand it all.
Although I have spent a month on this novel now (as I am counting), I have enjoyed every second of reading it. John Wyndham knew how to throw suspense in his writing, even better than many modern-day authors do. I never knew what to expect with every chapter going by. Everything made so much sense and it all clicked together as the plot unfolded. Seventeen chapters, so many shocking moments and parts where I wanted to scream. This is the true unfolding of an utter fangirl.
"Once we allow things that we know are not right, there's no telling where it will ends. A god-fearing community doesn't have to deny its faith just because there's been pressure brought to bear in a government licensing office."To sum it up in a paragraph, John Wyndham's classic tale is about discrimination and friendship, mainly. David Strorm is our main character, who lives in a post-apocalyptic world after "The Tribulation." This Tribulation essentially refers to a nuclear disaster where all of the land is left radioactive and has caused humans to never see the real image again. Those who are mutants are killed, burned, and so on. Vegetables have to be a certain colour and people have to follow the certain rules. David, his sister Petra and the others all live in a society that has been run down, also known as Labrador. David discovers that he also has a secret that others must not discover, especially his father who preaches against the blasphemies.
This novel showcases to what extent humanity can become horrible. Discrimination comes in all ways and forms, and in this case, it was disability. Against it, in fact. It is an interesting story that is a lesson for many. I adore this, it could touch many hearts, and knowing that the main characters themselves who are stuck in a strict society could experience what it is like to be discriminated.
The themes that are showcased here could depend on the reader's perspective. Anyone can infer or predict anything about this story. There are eerie relationships (cousins? Really?) but it is an eerie novel at a whole. In a good way, obviously.
"The inspector was the inspector, and an important person; all the same I could not believe that the Devil sent Sophie. I found it hard to see how the very small toe on each foot could make much difference either." (55)
It truly is the best when a book makes you feel light, happy and completely satisfied. I absolutely recommend this to all. Your inner book obsessed self will be thankful for it afterwards. Oh, how I wish we got to experience more. *dreams* *awes*