Drought by Pam Bachorz
Published: January 25, 2011 by Egmont USA
Ruby dreams of escaping the Congregation. Escape from slaver Darwin West and his cruel Overseers. Escape from the backbreaking work of gathering Water. Escape from living as if it is still 1812, the year they were all enslaved.
When Ruby meets Ford- an irresistible, kind, forbidden new Overseer- she longs to run away with him to the modern world, where she could live a normal teenage live. Escape with Ford would be so simple.
But if Ruby leaves, her community is condemned to certain death. She, alone, possess the secret ingredient that makes the Water so special- her blood- and it’s the one thing that the Congregation cannot live without.
Drought is the haunting story of one community’s thirst for life, and the dangerous struggle of the only girl who can grant it.
This is a book that I loved, but had a hard time reviewing. I was so emotionally invested in this story and was outraged at the Congregants whenever Ruby was, but I have so many unanswered questions! Plus, when I read a book, I tend to like the characters I am meant to like and dislike the ones I am meant to dislike. BUT, Pam Bachorz doesn’t make it that easy, and I’d like to believe she does so intentionally. I thought I knew what I thought about this book when I finished reading, but a couple days later and I was questioning why I liked this character, why I disliked this part of the book, etc. This book was also so radically different from Pam Bachorz’ first book, Candor, yet they both hold some of the same themes of control.
Reasons I love this book:
- Ruby- even though she knows the risks, Ruby knows there’s a possibility that she can escape from her horrible existence and she’s smart and gutsy enough to take that chance, unlike the older and “wiser” Congregants
- Ford- he is amazingly real- he’s conflicted and caring, he’s willing to suffer for those he loves and risks everything to see Ruby and try to help her escape
- control- the overall feel of this story to me was who has the right to decide Ruby’s life? Ruby’s mother and the Congregants (who are all older than Ruby) are relentless in their opinion that they know best (seriously they will stop at nothing!). Ruby feels like she understands something that they don’t, but her opinion doesn’t matter because she’s young (even though they’ve all been living 100s of years supposedly…), so what could she possibly know right? Who is really in control of how the rest of Ruby’s life plays out? It’s her choice to obey or rebel, but her blood is the key to the Congregants’ long lives… would you want so many deaths on your conscious?
- Ford- he seems like a decent person, but he’s an Overseer. He’s also selfish- he thinks he and Ruby can have a relationship like they live in the normal world he’s used to, but he risks her life every time he’s near her. He also took her out one night, away from her mother who was badly injured. A question my boyfriend brought up: If Ruby hadn’t returned Ford’s feelings how helpful would he have been?
- all my unanswered questions! I have a feeling some (if not all) of these things were left up in the air purposely, but I like closure.
- the Visitor- he’s creepy- how is he literally sniffing Ruby out? Who is this guy?
- Otto- does Otto exist? Does he know there’s a cult group of slaves worshipping him? Does he care?
- long life- why are they living for 100s of years? There’s an explanation as to how but none for why. What is the point of their longevity?
- the Congregants- they are all so blind and readily willing to kill to keep things as they are even though they are captives. They all insisted that their great and mighty Otto wanted them to suffer and endure, yet not make any attempts, no matter how small, to better their situation. And this made me want to punch something.
The boyfriend factor:
- My boyfriend didn’t trust Ford, as shown clearly by his question above. If Ruby hadn’t like Ford, would he have cared if she escaped her life as a slave? Would he have helped?
- “Would your mother be proud of you?” I ask, loud enough to make sure he can hear me. I can’t tell for sure, but I think Ford shakes his head. His back is turned to me and he’s looking up at the cisterns. No. I won’t let him ignore me. I walk close to him. “What won’t you do?” I ask. “Is there anything you wouldn’t do to keep your mother alive?” – Ruby pg. 209
- “There’s nothing you need to tell us,” Mother says. “I’ve told them everything.” She’s told them everything she wants them to know. But what of my side? Words tumble over my lips. I sound frantic, but I don’t care. They have to listen. “I want to explain. I want to tell you why I didn’t leave. I want to tell you about Ford-” “Don’t say his name,” Hope says, her voice gravelly. – Ruby pg. 331
This is a book that’ll make you think. I really enjoyed both Drought, and Pam Bachorz’ first book Candor (which never got much attention in my opinion).