Friday, August 8, 2014

Blogging for Books- The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan

Posted by Heather at Friday, August 08, 2014

The Panopticon, by Jenni Fagan, follows the life of 15 year old Anais Hendricks. Repeat offender and chronic foster-home child, Anais has had a hard life, to say the least. The book opens with Anais going to the Panopticon, a home for chronic young offenders. At the Panopticon, Anais forms a family of sorts, with the other equally rough, mired prisoners. In the end Anais learns that she can only rely on herself.

Random House, the publisher for The Panopticon, describes the book as; 

"Anais Hendricks, fifteen, is in the back of a police car. She is headed for the Panopticon, a home for chronic young offenders. She can't remember what’s happened, but across town a policewoman lies in a coma and Anais is covered in blood. Raised in foster care from birth and moved through twenty-three placements before she even turned seven, Anais has been let down by just about every adult she has ever met. Now a counterculture outlaw, she knows that she can only rely on herself. And yet despite the parade of horrors visited upon her early life, she greets the world with the witty, fierce insight of a survivor. 

Anais finds a sense of belonging among the residents of the Panopticon—they form intense bonds, and she soon becomes part of an ad-hoc family. Together, they struggle against the adults that keep them confined. But when she looks up at the watchtower that looms over the residents, Anais realizes her fate: She is an anonymous part of an experiment, and she always was. Now it seems that the experiment is closing in."

The Panopticon, by Jenni Fagan is a confusing, hard to follow read. Right off the bat, the American reader is at a disadvantage because of all the English slang used in the book. "Nae," "cannae," "tae," "doesnae," etc. are just some of the words that can trip up the American reader. First, though, I should mention that the word, "Panopticon" can be defined as, "a circular prison with cells arranged around a central well, from which prisoners could at all times be observed." That should be understood before one starts to read the book. 

After trudging through at least a quarter of the book, the main character, Anais, has still not move past her first night at Panopticon. Every paragraph seems jilted and out of sorts with the ones following and preceding. It's almost as if a million little thoughts were put together in one book and none of them are in order. Soo, soo, soo confusing for the reader to follow!

Characters are introduced at random and character development is lacking. While the reader feels bad for all of the unspeakable and alluded-to horrors that have happened in Anais' young life, it is hard to feel sorry for her when much is left unexplained and the reader is left wondering and confused.

This is author Jenni Fagan's first novel.

***Disclaimer- "I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review."***


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