Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman was February’s book club read and one of which we found to be a little unsure of.
One reader thought it read like the writer had a chip on her shoulder and another thought it was written with much venom and anger.
We were all in agreement that the writing was very stilted and left a lot of unanswered questions (left for the sequels?). It was a very simplistic book and definitely written for the young adult market.
Although all of the above halted our enjoyment of the book, the underlying themes gave way to huge discussion. The interesting twist of ‘crosses’ being at the top of society, reminded a reader of the infamous brown eye/blue eye experiment where children were led to believe they were better than one another purely on the basis of their eye colour.
Education was another theme that showed how one sided teaching can prevent the true knowledge of historic people filtering through. How many of us know the true influence of black people in our historic society?
The setting of the novel was also quite confusing. None of us were quite sure whether it was set in a parallel/futuristic/ present day world. In whichever world, women were still treated as third class citizens.
The characters reaction to events throughout the book ranged from suicide to violence to indifference. The main character of Sephy was deemed to be very Desdemona and irritated a lot of readers. Callum, however was considered a good character although it was noted that none of the text included any swear words, which was slightly odd for teenagers!
Although we possibly wouldn’t read any of the follow up books, Noughts and Crosses at least gave us enough material to provoke a good discussion. Let’s hope we have more enjoyment of next month’s book!