This is the most terrifying book I have ever read!
Imagine a world in which every word and every communicative gesture is owned and considered Intellectual Property.
In this Dystopian novel, Freedom of Expression no longer exists. Once a person reaches the age of 15, s/he is made to wear an electronic cuff that tracks, and charges him/her for, any kind of communication. You can say nothing for free, not even your own name.
In this society, the wealthy people own the rights to words. Anytime a word is spoken by anyone, the Rightsholders get paid. They have so much money that they can say almost whatever they wish. They can afford lawyers to sue over any trivial inconvenience. In this society, lawyers are more powerful than government or law enforcement. The poor are crippled by debt and have little to no power.
On Speth Jime’s last day as a 14-year-old, her life is fairly bleak. This is the day she loses her right to speak freely. This is the day the government begins to charge her for her every word.
Not that her life was happy before this day. Years before, her parents were taken away into debt collection. Her older sister has had to work to support Speth and their little brother, Sam. And- since they have been orphaned by debt, the siblings live under the control of a cruel and petty Guardian named Mrs. Harris.
However, the final straw for Speth, on her “Last Day”, is witnessing her “boyfriend,” Beecher, committing suicide. This sends Speth past the point of no return. She feels as if she has to do SOMETHING. She cannot envision herself in a powerless future.
So, instead of making the obligatory public speech advertising retail products at her “Last Day” party, Speth does something shocking. She stares at the crowd and makes the sign of the zippered lips. Speth chooses silence.
In a world where speech is not free, silence is revolution.
Review by Mrs. Sanborn
Jaime Sanborn's Book Reviews by Jaime Ann Sanborn, MLIS, SLMS is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://jfsanborn.blogspot.com.