Synopsis: A gritty, high-stakes adventure set in a futuristic world where oil is scarce, but loyalty is scarcer. In America's Gulf Coast region, grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts by crews of young people. Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota-and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or by chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it's worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life....
In this powerful novel, Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future.
I've been mulling over what to say about this book, because it's very complicated for me. On one hand, I want to say I loved this book, but then I want to say that it didn't quite do it for me at the same time. I'm walking a thin line between the two, and I've been having a really hard time figuring out where that line is. So I'm just going to start breaking it down.
This book is timely and it feels like a potential marker of our time - much like George Orwell and communism or how John Steinbeck marked the Great Depression. It seems to be a response to the oil spill and it projects the repercussions of our conventions that lead to this man-made disaster. Instances like that turn into an incredibly bleak future - and the initial scene in which Nailer nearly drowns in oil is chilling and uncomfortable, personalizing the gravity of such a disaster. Beyond this human-propelled world wracked with the repercussions of natural disasters, is an intense portrayal of the gulf between social classes. On one hand you have Nailer and his crew, who lead brutal lives with no comfort. They live on the beach, and when storms strike their entire community is demolished and scattered. Then you have Nita, who's diamond nose ring alone could be worth enough to change Nailer's life. There is no in-between. There is extreme poverty and then there is the filthy-rich.
This book was extremely creative, it was affecting, it was, well, quite brilliant. So I can't really figure out why it didn't send me into my - freaking out - mode. I can't quite figure it out. However, the more I talk about it the more I'm thinking that this is a book I have to read again. Because it's so layered, I think that, like an onion (or Shrek-ok I can't really believe I compared this book to Shrek, because they're not even close to the same thing) it needs to be peeled to get to the heart of it. I'm not done with this book and I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. I can understand why I'm so fascinated by it, but I can't understand why I'm not deeply in love.
What did you think about Ship Breaker?