Book Title: The Book of Etta
Series: The Road to Nowhere #2
Author: Meg Elison
Goodreads Link: Click here
Star Rating: – Just keeps getting better!
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in return for an un-biased review.
First things first, The Book of Etta is the second book in a series. Sometimes you can squeak by without reading the first volume in a series, but this is not that kind of book. If you read this review and want to look into it then please visit my review for the first book, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife. Things that happen in Midwife are essential to understanding the world of The Book of Etta. Now back to business.
The first book in this series took me by surprise. It was altogether astonishing. A dystopian look at a future in which the vast majority of women have died. There are no babies being born, and the future looks terribly bleak. I was surprised by the brutality of the survivors in the Unnamed Midwife, but the book stuck with me. I found myself thinking about it long after I’d finished reading and posted my review. When I found out that there was a second book, I rushed over to Netgalley and prayed for an approval from the publisher. A world without women. What does that even mean? The first book in the series goes into the immediate ramifications of the circumstances. This second book revisits that world, two generations and 100 years later. How have things changed? How has society adapted?
The answers to those questions are fascinating. Our main character, Etta, is a raider. She wanders the South (of a decimated America) looking for women and girls to save from the lives of sadism and slavery they endure at the hands of men (and sadly other women). In a journey reminiscent of the Odyssey, she encounters village after village. Each defined by their relationships with the women among them. Etta herself is undefined. On the road she is Eddy, at home Etta, and at all times conflicted. The world has never been able to reconcile itself completely to the concept of LGBTQ people, and this terrible new world is no different.
I am beyond happy with Etta as a character. She is little but she is fierce. She is flawed, but is a definite hero/ine. Everything is against her from the start. She is a woman, she is black, she has a sharp independent mind, she is unmistakably different in a world where women are set into very strict roles. Etta is having none of it. Her journey is not a pretty one, the world has become a savage place but her story is always riveting. I am very much looking forward to another book in the series.
Song for this book: Hurt by Johnny Cash