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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

With a voice as distinctive and original as that of The Lovely Bones, and for the fans of the speculative fiction of Margaret Atwood, Karen Thompson Walker’s The Age of Miracles is a luminous, haunting, and unforgettable debut novel about coming of age set against the backdrop of an utterly altered world. “It still amazes me how little we really knew. . . . Maybe everything that happened to…

The Age of Miracles

by Karen Thompson Walker

Overall Book Review:

Karen Thompson Walker takes a fundamental truth that humans have taken for granted, introduced a single change,  and from that single premise she reveals just how fragile our human existence really is.  The Age of Miracles is being touted as a coming of age book, but in some ways it is also a science fiction book–with the fiction being quite believable; Walker did an excellent job of building a plausible situation.  The storyline arch is very subdued and liberally sprinkled with foreshadowing and hints at the uncertain future of the human race.  Narrarated by Julia, a sixth grader, the story is in first person, but it is related in retrospect, in the voice of an older and wiser observer.

The book’s tone was poignant and melancholy without quite crossing to depressing.  Although it is not a light read, it is an easy read due to the lovely voicing.  Overall The Age of Miracles was a thoughtful book and would probably be a good one for book clubs, as it inspires reflection.

Book received from the Publisher

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  17 religious exclamations; 6 mild obscenities; 3 religious profanities; 1 derogatory name; 18 scatological words; 3 f-word derivatives.

Violence/Gore:  Report of a person being shot and killed; death of animals; injured baby bird flung over ravine by boy; car accident resulting in a death; report of deaths and suicides by an extremist group; natural disaster resulting in the destruction of property; crash resulting in death; injury by sunburn; report of a death by a fall.

Sex/Nudity:  Reference to training bras and teasing; reference to a girl’s mother’s appearance as sexy, etc.; boy pulls up a girl’s shirt to see if she is wearing a bra (she is not); a few incidences of kissing/hand-holding; an individual is having an affair (no details); dialogue referring to a boy’s “thing”; unmarried couple are living together; young teens watch a “German sex scene” on TV (no details).

Mature Subject Matter:

Natural disasters; death; family relations; infidelity; discrimination.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

There are rumors at the middle school about who smokes marijuana.  Adults drink beer and alchohol on occassion.  Report of a teen smoking.  Rumors about drug dealers.  A minor-aged character drinks wine.  Young teenagers (11-13) drink beer at a party.  College kids smoke.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

An accountant and CPA by profession, I found myself a book reviewer for Squeaky Clean Reads by happenstance. When the opportunity came to transform that website into Compass Book Ratings, I was excited to seize it and meld my business background with my love of books. As the mother of three teenage sons, I have read a large number of children and young adult books and I believe that there is great value in a content review service. As much as we would love to read everything our children read, there just isn’t enough time. I also appreciate being able to select books for myself that are really worth my precious and limited reading time. I believe there is a book out there for everyone–they just have to find it!