Saturday, May 14, 2011


In a world where people over 18 can no longer conceive children, it's the best thing in the world to be 16 and pregnant. It's practically a teenager's obligation to have children to keep the population up and give or sell their children away to older couples that can't have any of their own. Melody and Harmony are twins separated at birth and adopted by two very different families. They have different views of things. Melody's mentality coincides with much of society's: she's committed to renting out her womb to a couple for a small fortune and may possibly do this until she can no longer have children. Her twin Harmony is just the opposite. She comes from a cultish religious society called Goodside where the parents choose the children's spouses and they are expected to become parents. Harmony is horrified at society's penchant for premarital sex and the encouragement to give or sell your baby away. She visits Melody in an effort to save her and bring her back to the religious community. She isn't really prepared for greater society and gets more than she bargained for.

Bumped is a combination of satire and dystopia that isn't really balanced and doesn't work well. I didn't find it all that funny. I was more disturbed by the exaggerated oversexualization of teenage girls and society's unconcern for their true physical or mental wellbeing. I understand that the novel is a parody of our tendency to glorify teen pregnancy with shows like Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant, but I just don't feel that it isn't as pervasive as the author wants us to think. If you watch those shows, the teen mom's lives are never easy and often times pretty miserable. Teen pregnancy is actually on the decline now. The slang wasn't hard to understand. I was expecting something in the league of the Nadsat slang of A Clockwork Orange, where I literally had no clue what was being talked about in the entire first chapter of the work. I was also really annoyed at most of the characters. Melody was super fake and mean to most of the people in her life. Harmony was also fake and spent most of the book blindly following the religion that discouraged her from asking questions or having independent thought. It was a frustrating read for me because both girls are from an oppressive society and both go a very long while without realizing it.

The strength of this book is the disturbing factor. Hearing young kids sing about sex in pretty crude language is just plain creepy. I think the most disturbing moment is a little 10 year old girl at the hospital about to have a baby. That is not right in so many ways. The girl didn't understand the gravity of the situation and it would obviously be detrimental to her physical and mental health for her to have her baby. She didn't have any choice in the situation, was probably raped, and her parents are totally ok with it. It just makes me feel dirty. This scene will stay with me for a very long time.

The state of the characters at the end of the book give me hope for the next installment. It does end abruptly, but I think I will pick up the next book. I hope Harmony and Melody keep growing and become more aware of their situations.

My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins

1 comment:

Misty said...

Yeah, I didn't talk about the little girl in my review, and I think I was kind of trying to block it out of my head. I mean, she's so blithely cheerful about the whole thing, and the whole time I was reading it, it was a struggle not to think: some (comparatively) grown man had sex with this little girl. Her parents and the adults in her life praise her for what had to have been an awful experience. My neighbor is ten. I don't even want to think about what would happen to any man that tried to "pregg" with her. It would not end pretty.
And I think that's where the big disconnect comes from in reading this, and where you really begin to question the whole point. Because if you look at it from the dystopia-viurs-barren thing, it still would never be encouraged for young girls to be raped by men. The society wasn't technologically backwards, so if things were really that dire, and they really did HAVE to have pregnant 10 yr olds running around, they could have used artificial insemination. So instead of any of it being (gross but) believable, it all became INCREDIBLY pervy and disgusting.