Wednesday, September 21, 2011
HELPER12 by Jack Blaine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Helper12 works in the baby ward. She monitors and cares for babies newborn through 4 months. One night a family unit, the Sloanes, walk in with the director and walks out with a baby and helper12 as it’s nanny. Both have been sold to this “family” and there is nothing anyone can do about it.
This is a world where there is “society” (and they have enough money to do whatever they want) and there are “helpers” (workers with virtually no life outside their work and are disposable). The helpers are tattooed with their designation be it a “breeder”, “baby helper”, “house helper”, “driver”, etc.
When Mrs. Sloane starts to regret her impulse baby purchase, Helper12 begins to fear for her life and the life of the baby she is caring for…after all they were purchased on the black market, no one knows or cares who they are, and like all helpers are told, “helpers suddenly disappear all the time”.
This was a scary dystopian world! And as usual, from where the helpers are, life in society looks so good from the sidewalk looking in…but as Helper12 discovers, what goes on behind closed doors is never quite what you expect. That’s what I love about dystopian fiction…everything always looks so pretty and perfect on the outside and is so righteously dysfunctional on the inside…Blaine really got it right.
I loved that Helper 12 never abandoned her healthy dose of fear! If I had been brought up in her world I would be forever skeptical of anything and everything too. It brought a realism to the story, that some dystopian stories lack. And the whole “guilt by association” thing was a real eye-opener…way to really separate the masses and keep their heads down so as not to see that the Emperor is naked.
It was predictable in that I saw the romance coming. But was totally taken aback by the whole Gregory storyline. WOW! My heart ached for Thomas and Deen…I couldn’t imagine anyone who gave birth to a child doing what Mrs. Sloane did…but that’s another thing I love about dystopian fiction, they are all about what loving, feeling, sympathetic people wouldn’t do.
My only gripe would be that I would have loved to know more about what life as a “leisure doll” would have been! I’m guessing but would have loved to read it from Blaine’s point of view.
I look forward to reading more from Jack Blaine!
View all my reviews
Posted by Pam Steinke at 10:03 AM