Published 1 November 2012
"It doesn't matter. I have books, new books, and I can bear anything as long as there are books."
Mor Phelps is a complicated teenager, her belief in fairies and magic sets her apart from the other girls at the boarding school she is forced to attend. However, it is her love of books, and science fiction in particular, which offers her a respite from the segregation and bullying tactics. In the form of a series of journal entries, we are introduced to Mor’s world, and through some quite intricate narration, we are allowed a glimpse into the thoughts and dreams of this rather complex character.
Initially, I thought the book was difficult to get into, and had to re-read parts of the earlier narrative to see whether I had missed any clues into Mor’s background. However, I found that about a third of the way into the novel, the story really started to take off, and Mor becomes a undeniably articulate narrator. Her love of literature really is her saving grace and the book references which are scattered like pearls of wisdom throughout the story add an interesting dimension.
In Among Others, Jo Walton has created an entirely believable world where love, loss and madness, intermingle with a story about self-discovery and self-awareness. As a young teen, I read avidly the Mallory Towers books of Enid Blyton, I am sure that my thirteen year old self would have devoured Among Others with equal gusto.
As a book group read, I feel that this would be something of a marmite book; love it or loathe it; it would certainly divide opinion, but would most surely get people talking!
My Thanks to Newbooks for a review copy of this book.