When I first started reading The Emancipation of B I was counting down the pages, waiting for a more engaging plot to arise. Around page 50 I stopped. It was hard to figure out where the story was headed because it’s presented differently than my usual read – ones that guide you along events that are full of action or mystery. But it was a great break from that, almost a meditative read. It focuses on B, a character I found myself, as an introvert, relating strongly to, as he figures out what sort of life he wants to lead and how to get there in a world not made for him. As his world becomes filled with mindfulness you become mindful of each word you’re reading. It’s a great read between action packed page turners if you’re looking for something that is a little different and a little spiritual. It deals with death, family, and becoming an adult. It also tackles racism gracefully, something I found very refreshing considering my recent reads.
“The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” he said at last.
“Oh, just something I threw into the river this evening. I don’t think I’ll be wanting it any more,” said Arthur Dent.
I couldn’t have said it any better – keep in mind I’m reading the omnibus and it is titled The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: a trilogy in five parts.
This feeling of rage isn’t because the story was bad. It was phenomenal. Where the first book floundered around in silly jokes and interesting gadgets, Restaurant was plot driven with silly jokes and gadgets. It was really engaging and fun. I love Douglas Adams’ style.
Until chapter 16. And two tiny paragraphs about a background character who literally does not influence the plot at all.
The background character that exists all for joke, like many background characters seem to. But this was a racist joke.
Douglas Adams just decided call a background character an ethnic slur a couple of times and briefly mention they’re an annoyance who needs to be paid to go away. Literally just throwing out a stereotype for a laugh.
I’m talking about the g-word. I’m talking about describing them as wild-skinned but not describing them further as having trees growing out their back or something along those lines like I expected.
This book took a while to hook me. I was 3/4ths done before I was really curious about what would happen next, mostly due to my preferences than the writing itself. It’s a journal-style novel about an outcast named Jake. He’s going through a phase of self-discovery as most teens do. I can certainly see why people may be hesitant to buy this for a younger teen – it has a lot of dark themes from the ethics of stealing and murder to kidnapping and abuse. I argue it’s because of these dark themes that this book should at least be available. As much as I’d love to think nothing like this ever crosses the minds of teens, it does. The questions Jake tackles are questions I know I’ve played through my head many times while growing up and still sometimes do. It’s very realistic and the end really frames what’s important in life without slapping on an false and-he-lived-happily-ever-after ending and without saying this is the only way to view the world. The journal-style works in theme’s favor this way. It’s not confrontational about morality, it’s not forcing views. It leads the reader through the problems Jake is facing, makes you question what you would do, and lets you decide what’s right and wrong for yourself.