Trend Spotlights: Into the Land of Dystopia Part V- Bumped by Megan McCafferty

I have been told by many friends and acquaintances that I would love Megan McCafferty’s books.  So, when I found out she had a dystopia out and I was doing a feature on dystopian themed novels for my blog, I was like why not I’ll give it a whirl.  Especially when I heard that McCafferty’s dystopia wasn’t the usual glom and doom world where Earth is ruined because we didn’t follow Captain Planet’s advice.  No, rather this is a world that is based around the phenomenon of teenage pregnancy.

 
Background Information/Review of Bumped

 

General Summary: A virus has caused the vast majority of the population to become infertile after age eighteen which thus makes teen pregnancy a very lucrative market.  So much that the world becomes pregnancy obsessed.  Fun bumps are the new fashion accessory and condoms have been outlawed.  Melody, one of the two leads in the book, is destined to make it big in the world of bumping, if her Goodside long lost twin, Harmony, doesn’t stop her first.
Review: I like this book in theory.  It has an interesting premise and most of the characters (with the big exception of Harmony which I’ll get to in a minute) were likable.  I just thought after awhile the book got a little boring.  Yeah, stuff was happening.  Harmony was acting like a psycho while Melody was acting oblivious, but the book only focused on one thing: pregnancy.  And yeah, I know it was a society that essentially worships pregnancy, but there could’ve been a little subplot that was completely unrelated to it at times that could just lighten up the atmosphere some.  Maybe that was part of the problem. McCafferty excelled so much in her world building that I was reminded constantly of the prego obsessed world that Melody and Harmony lived in  (including their knocked up inspired lingo) that this poor girl couldn’t get a break and had to stop every fifty pages or so to read something else–even gasps, Immigration Law, just to get rid of a potential migraine.  Once again, I thought McCafferty did a nice job with the characterization.  Except when it comes to Harmony.  Perhaps I am supposed to hate Harmony and want to shake her and then send back to the Duggars Goodside where she belongs,  but I don’t think I am.  I think I’m suppose to feel for for her, but I don’t  because she’s gosh darn too sanctimonious.  And she compares the guy she has a crush on to Jesus.  Obviously, she’s been listening to too much Faith + 1.  It’s really perplexing to me that she’s like this because Melody, her sister, is a very flawed character too, who wanted to get knocked up from the get go, but I could sympathize for Melody.  I think it might be because we were more or less in her world than Harmony’s.  We saw what she experienced firsthand.  While Harmony seemed to be a bit tight lipped about her life.
Best Feature: Reality TV Bashing: Though it’s not direct, I think McCafferty is making fun of reality TV.  Although, the world is about teenage pregnancy, sexuality, and marriage at it’s core, I couldn’t help but note that  several of these societies seemed to be based off of the trashiest of the trashy reality shows.

 

Worst Feature: Too different: The world building is fantastic.  But how far can you go with world building?  It’s true that McCafferty’s world is no near the level of derange that Brave New World is, but even though soma does  not exist in McCafferty’s world, she’s gone pretty far into the world of dystopia even inventing her own lingo.  And although this is really cool, sometimes it can get to be a little too much.
McCafferty’s lingo sometimes made me feel like I’d been hit by the Tower of Bable.

 

Blockbuster Worthy: Honestly, I’d be interested in seeing this one on screen.  Just because of the ludicrousness of the plot.  I’m sure though if Hollywood got their hands on this they’d probably tame it down quite a bit.
Melody/Harmony: Maci Bookout: The original teen mom.  Okay, not the original teen mom, obviously.  But she was from the first season on 16 and Pregnant  and she still annoys me to this day, even though I don’t watch Teen Mom.  On the cover of U.S. Weekly.  Seriously, U.S., do you think I care about Maci’s love life?
Zen: OOh, a toughie for sure.  I can’t think of an actor with complete awesomeness to play Zen.  Though Harry Shum JR.  is probably the closet I can find in looks.  But does Harry have what it takes to do the awesomeness that  is needed to be Zen?
Jondoe: Zac Efron: This might be the sort of “deep” movie that Zac might be interested in doing.  Though he would be playing  a teen again, but he wouldn’t be doing this.  Instead, he would just be playing a super sperminator.
Dystopia Analysis

 

A) Dissatisfaction with Society: Oh yeah, this element is definitely satisfied here.  In a very satirical way too, McCafferty shows us a world in which Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant were taken one step further.  With the rise in teen pregnancy and it’s continued saturation in the media (especially after the incident in Gloucaster, Massachusetts) I think it was a good issue to tackle.
B) They Make a Good Story:  The whole plot of this one was intriguing.  There were so many directions McCafferty could go here.  Note only with the pregnancy obsessed society, but with Melody and Harmony as well.  Twins separated at birth have always been an interesting subject matter to explore.  Remember this show:
C) They Are Popular because They’re Over Marketed:  It’s true.  I heard a lot about this book when it first came out, but it wasn’t as heavily as marketed as Shatter Me.  I think the subject matter in this book leads to McCafferty’s favor.
D) Dystopian Boys are Just Plain Hot: Well, Zen is.  Jondoe reminds me a little too much of Hansel from Zoolander.
Overall Thoughts:  Overall I think McCafferty’s book is a solid dystopia.  It’s different from the other books I’ve read so far, mainly because it has a parody element to it.  And I appreciate this.   It makes the book refreshing which is nice is a sub genre that is getting over satirized in books.  Plus, I like the fact that it tackled on a different element (besides polluting and global warming) that changed the world.
Overall Book Rating: Seven out of ten bumps.  I think for what it is McCafferty successfully accomplished what she was trying to do.  Admittedly, the book got a little too much (especially, the character Harmony) that I had to put it down more than a few times.  But I think the overall world building made up for this.  I really am getting the bumped obsessed society.
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2 thoughts on “Trend Spotlights: Into the Land of Dystopia Part V- Bumped by Megan McCafferty

  1. LOL, the only time I ever make it through an episode of 16 and Pregnant is when I have insomnia, but I'm usually texting or something throughout it.Yeah, it did get boring. I literally skimmed the last third of the novel. But it is really socially relevant. And Bumped was funny at times, but it got old fast.

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