I have been in a book rut this summer. I just haven’t been able to find a book that really wows me. Until now. I devoured The Natural Way of Things by Australian author Charlotte Wood.
(Image from amazon.com)
The book is set in a dystopian, misogynistic society at a prison camp where young women are sent to be punished for sexually promiscuity, even for being raped. They withstand violence and hard physical labor at the hands of the prison guards.
This harshness changes them, bringing some of the young women closer. Verla and Yolanda, the two main characters, are flawed and fierce. Wood’s development of characters is excellent, making the book a total page-turner.
Wood’s imagery is perfection, even when it is extremely disturbing. A really good author can make me cringe with her descriptions, and Wood does just that.
If you’re looking for light summer reading, this isn’t it. It’s dark. Very dark. There’s always little parts of dystopian stories that are a little too close for comfort to our real-life society. Despite having none of the happy, light-heartedness many of us look for in summer reading choices, I loved this book and couldn’t put it down.