We are pleased to announce Sharolyn G. Brown’s The Heaviness of Knowing as our Winter 2018 F-BOM Book of the Month.
Not offensive to women = 1/1 pt
Features a woman as the main protagonist and/or supporting character = 2/2 pts
Passes the Bechdel-Wallace test = 3/3 pts
No, Yes, and Yes. The Heaviness of Knowing also passes racial representation tests. Does not pass for LGBT representation.
Artistic and/or Entertaining = 4/4 pts
The Heaviness of Knowing starts out as a typical dystopian novel. However, it shucks the basics pretty quickly. Where a Young Adult novel might take the whole first book following the main character’s awakening, when we meet Roxal, she is already aware her world is a sham, and she is a pawn for her “gods”, the Keepers. She is also fully romantically and physically involved with a man. And most interestingly, the rebellion is already happening. She’s just not a part of it.
Roxal’s Earth counterpart, Lauren, also has a non-standard storyline. A no-nonsense, scientifically-driven woman, she is forced to try hypnosis when she develops severe insomnia. While not involved in the fighting on Roxal’s world, Lauren is still able to play a critical communication role when her special bond with Roxal is revealed.
Brown’s choices keep this novel firmly in the category of Adult science fiction. I’m a fan of dystopian novels but I much preferred reading about adult characters. Lauren and Roxal are not on journeys of adolescent self-discovery. Yet they bear the burden of what they’ve learned. Their struggle revolves around exactly what the title suggests: what do you do when you know the truth? What do you owe yourself, and the others around you? How will your choices change you?
Above and Beyond General Media = 5/5 pts
What I loved most in this book were the relationships. Lauren and Roxal, each thrown into a struggle larger than themselves, learn to rely on each other. Though they have known each other for years in dreams, the two strengthen their bond over the course of the novel, almost getting to know each other all over again. Similarly, their other relationships are give the same attention. Not every character is main character, but through the eyes of such well-developed characters as Roxal and Lauren, we feel all of them fully.
Overall: 15/15 points
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