Parents' Guide to

The Goodness Gene

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

A poor take on evil future government.

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When an author has a Point to make, the story usually takes a back seat -- and that is certainly true here. Author Sonia Levitin has a Point, as she details in an Author's Note and extensive source list, though even with all that it's a little hard to see clearly just what it is, beyond "we're all going to Hell in a hand basket." And she hammers home that vague Point with a cudgel so heavy that it is at times almost laughable. She is so determined to stack the deck against this future society that she brings Hitler, that old reliable bogeyman, into the equation.

This kind of thing has been done before, and much better. Levitin starts right out by violating Rule 1 of dystopian novels: The society has to have at least some superficial appeal before the big reveal of the rot at its core, else why would anyone put up with it? It would be nice to have characters you can care about, and a story that doesn't just go on with nothing much happening other than the main character gradually realizing the painfully obvious.

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