For Thanksgiving, I decided to read Make Room! Make Room! There couldn’t have been a better choice. Aside from being my 33rd scifi book and marking the third-way mark in this amazing reading list, it is about overpopulation, poverty, the corrosion of humanity, the Millennium, and has a Thanksgiving Day in it. Great things to ponder on a day where you count your blessings. It is not about cannibalism, like the movie Soylent Green “based” on this book (I haven’t seen it, except for that famous last clip: “Soylent Green! It’s people!”). But cannibalism would have actually been a forgivable faux pax, given the grim setting of this book.
This is an extremely well-written book. I think it has the best first paragraph of any book I’ve read so far, and it’s a doozy. It also tirades eloquently on a number of issues that are still hot spots today: water shortages, farms vs. cities, seawater intrusion (!), birth control, political corruption, poverty. There is a long list of references in the back, although Silent Spring is not included, and I really thought it would. I think what made the book really sing to me was to show how all these world trends really matter to us – because in the end, they will erode our relationships and love of one another – shown eloquently by the girl named Shirl, crying alone in a filthy, small room.
When you write, have a beautiful first paragraph. That sure goes a long way. Unperfect characters are wonderful, too. No one in the book was above reproach, and yet, you felt for all of them.
Perhaps because they weren’t perfect.