Book Review: Future Home of the Living God
Future Home of the Living God
by: Louise Erdrich
Finished on: January 15, 2017
Publisher: Harper Collins
Thank you to Harper Collins for providing me with a free finished copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
In the same vein as The Power (Naomi Alderman) and The End We Start From (Megan Hunter), Future Home of the Living God tells the story of one woman trying to survive in the not so distant future. What is different about this future is not immediately apparent in the book, but we come to discover that babies are no longer evolving, but rather regressing genetically. Evolution has apparently reversed itself. The US is in chaos and pregnant women are being taken in as prisoners. For our main character, Cedar Hawk Songmaker, this is terrifying, as she is four months pregnant at the start of the novel. Future Home of the Living God tells Cedar's story, as she struggles to survive and hide in a world of chaos - all while trying to come to terms with her God and find herself along the way.
I adore dystopian novels and Future Home of the Living God definitely met my expectations. I felt personally connected to Cedar as she struggled to survive and love her growing baby, even as the baby caused her life to be much more difficult.
Cedar is a strong and independent protagonist, but I deeply appreciated that Louise Erdrich does not write a perfectly happy and easy story for Cedar to overcome. Cedar's endeavors during pregnancy are disturbing and the future that Erdrich envisions is chilling.
I will admit that I initially picked up Future Home of the Living God prior to its release in November, but put it down after only about 60 pages and didn't feel strongly pulled to pick it back up. It sat on my nightstand for months, only to be picked back up yesterday. Once I started again, I was quickly drawn into the narrative and I'm quite surprised that I didn't finish it the first time around. Thankfully, there are books that find us at the right time and I think this was my right time for Future Home of the Living God.
Future Home of the Living God was a plot driven novel for me, which is the type that I generally gravitate towards. That being said, Cedar goes through a lot of character development and so I think fans of more character-driven novels would still really enjoy this read.
My one complaint or difficulty that I had while reading Future Home of the Living God was that the reader was kept in the dark about much of what was happening. What caused evolution to reverse? How did they figure this out? Who is "Mother?" What is happening with the US government? What is happening in other countries? The reader is fairly blinded to much of what is going on with the exception of what is directly affecting Cedar. This could definitely be frustrating for me while reading the novel. Upon finishing, I'm not sure if this was done on purpose and if it helped or hurt the text for me. This is definitely a book I will continue to ponder.
Overall, I rate this 4/5 stars. I highly recommend this novel for fans of dystopians that feature strong female dominated plots - such as The Power or The End We Start From. I am no way comparing these stories, but rather believe that if you enjoyed the others mentioned, you will also enjoy Future Home of the Living God. If you didn't enjoy those? Still consider giving this one a chance, as it is a unique and terrifying view into what the future could hold.