One-dimensional characters and offensive clichés mar DiLouie’s (Suffer the Children) disappointing chronicle of rising unrest between “normal” people and a group of disabled children set in Huntsville, Ga., in 1984. In 1968, an incurable sexually transmitted disease caused physical malformations in numerous babies. Some cases were fatal, and the survivors became known as “the plague generation.” Fourteen years later, those children live in the Home; they have been rejected by their parents, mistreated by their caregivers, and shunned by society. Some of the children begin manifesting powers, such as mind control, that could help them take down the “normals” and gain their freedom. After Enoch, a gentle boy, is killed for a crime he didn’t commit, Brain, a caricature of an autistic savant, decides that war is imminent and gathers the children to fight. Inevitably, the government seeks to use the children and their burgeoning powers for its own nefarious purposes. The well-trod tropes of oppression and uprising don’t take on any new life here, and the linkage of disability, superability, and inhumanity is tiresome and cruel, especially when children are the focus. Any readers who make it through the considerable scenes of carnage likely won’t be satisfied by the pat conclusion. Agent: David Fugate, LaunchBooks Literary. (July)
Reviewed on: 03/19/2018 Release date: 07/17/2018 Genre: Fiction
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