Sunday, July 18, 2010

Candor by Pam Bachorz

Everything is perfect in the town of Candor, Florida. Teens respect their elders, do their chores, and enjoy their homework...because they're controlled by subliminal messages. 
Oscar Banks, the son of the town's founder, is the model of perfection: class president, top student, shining example. But it's only a disguise. Unlike the other Candor teens, he knows about the Messages, and he fights them with his own counterprogramming. 
Only Oscar knows how to get kids out of Candor- for a price. Nobody suspects that he smuggles the richest new kids out of town before they change. It's risky: if Oscar were caught, he'd be sent straight to the Listening Room, where the most resistant minds are wiped clean.
When Nia moves into town, Oscar is smitten by her tart attitude and ability to see through his perfect-boy front. He can't stand to see her changed by the Messages. Now he must decide to help Nia escape Candor and lose her forever, or keep her close and risk exposure. 
Candor by Pam Bachorz has a storyline that is very unique and is not at all tired or boring.  The town of Candor that Pam Bachorz creates is inhabited by citizens who are all alike because they are all following the Messages instructions.  The Messages tell them to be perfect model citizens like Oscar Banks is. Oscar Banks however has been able to counter his personal Messages to keep himself real.  I enjoyed reading Candor because the premise of the story and the idea of living in a town with mass brainwashing kept me intrigued and on the edge of my seat. I think if you can suspend your disbelief and accept that the Messages are possible the story is very real. Bachorz does a wonderful job of painting a vivid picture of the town of Candor and the drones that live there. Oscar's voice in the novel fits the story perfectly. I enjoyed reading about him as he tries to remain his perfect act and let Nia into his real self and personality. Oscar's relationship with Nia as he tries to save her from the messages is the closest thing to anything real in Candor. Nia is also a great character because she gives Oscar the chance to prove that he isn't selfish when he tries to save her from the Messages. Oscar's relationship with his dad however, is anything but real even if Oscar's dad thinks it is. Oscar's dad is the town creator and he thinks he has Oscar under his thumb, but Oscar knows better than to let him do this. I would have liked to see some advancement in their relationship throughout, especially with Oscar's dad who continues to use Messages and control Oscar. I realize that change would be difficult to achieve for Oscar's dad, but even to show that he has feelings and thoughts of his own and show his humanity would have sufficed. While I enjoyed reading the book and learning about life in Candor I also am left frustrated and unsatisfied by the way it ended. It isn't just about the way that it ended but that the story just stopped. I should have predicted this because as I read in the back of my mind I kept thinking of the impossibility of the predicament Oscar is faced with. I tried to think of possible ways for it to end and nothing seemed to do the story justice. 3 Cupcakes!

1 comment:

  1. Great Review. I hate books with bad or unsatisfying endings; it always makes me feel disappointed, no matter how great the rest of the book was.