This book is so gorgeous inside and out!
As soon as I flipped through the pages, my eyes turned to hearts of adoration. It’s one of the incredible books that use mixed-media to tell the story. Piper is an artist and this book is almost us getting to read her life and her art journal. When she describes her art pieces (sketches and collages), they appear in the book too and it’s just 😍 a visual feast, coupled with a thoughtful and timely story of how the world can slowly dissolve into the sludge of dystopia.
Meet Piper: artist, gardener, Deaf.
It’s set in the not-so-distant future, where jobs are hard to find and the price of living is so mind-numbingly extreme (how about an $80 ride on the tram). Piper’s mum loses her job with Organicore and the two of them fall into hard times very fast. No electricity. Living in their back shed. Food is scarce.
Piper is curious, she loves working with her hands, she’s an artist who sees outside the box and experiments with different mediums. She lives and breathes art as it’s one of her biggest ways to communicate in a world that couldn’t be bothered to accommodate her Deafness. She’s been Deaf since she was three but her mum, though loving and protective, never gave her access to sign language. Piper’s loneliness through her isolation is just…it fills the pages. She has excruciating headaches from trying to lip-read. SHE accommodates everyone ELSE. The book starts with her trying her hardest to fit in to the mould of “normal” before she goes…
What if I just was myself.
There is so much Deaf culture in here. The author is Deaf and the book really goes deep into the culture and explaining AUSLAN (Australian Sign Language) too. I really loved how it portrayed love for the Deaf community, and also the struggles as Piper tries to cope in a world that won’t accommodate her. I just crave good disability rep in books and this NAILS it.
Also let’s talk GARDENING.
In this dystopian Melbourne, most people eat this prepackaged food that’s basically…synthetic food. “Wild food” (aka normal food) is considered dangerous. Everyone’s eating these boxed meals that are perfectly balanced and healthy, have cured cancer and obesity etc. But they’re also making some people sick and that’s why the company is going bankrupt.
It’s kind of a survival story too. Piper starts to build a garden genuinely to keep from starving. And look, watching someone build a garden from NOTHING is really a feat. I learned a lot — between laughing softly to myself. Because when the COVID pandemic started here, everyone else bought 9398 rolls of toilet paper while my mum also built 6 new vegetable gardens 😂This book felt so familiar.
The whole book is earthy and richly toned and is very about getting back to your roots (har har) of growing and gathering and surviving. Although, I do admit, though depends on your personal perspective, the book felt pretty anti-technology and anti-processed food. But under the circumstances? I kinda understood why it took that angle. I still need my WiFi thanks 😭😂.
The story is a slice of life in a dystopian world, where an artist forges her own path and connects to her culture and thrives in a world spiralling into an end.
It felt so hopeful! As well as just exquisitely designed. I instantly loved Piper, her voice and her dreams. There is a soft romance and lots of everyday survival scenes. A love letter to being yourself and growing as you’re meant to be, not who the world forces you to be.
Thanks Allen & Unwin for the review copy! Future Girl by Asphyxia is out Sept, 2020.
Future Girl explores what it means to come of age as a Deaf teenager, against the backdrop of a near-future Melbourne on the brink of environmental catastrophe.
Piper’s mum wants her to be ‘normal’, to pass as hearing and get a good job. But when peak oil hits and Melbourne lurches towards environmental catastrophe, Piper has more important things to worry about, such as how to get food.
When she meets Marley, a CODA (child of Deaf adult), a door opens into a new world – where Deafness is something to celebrate rather than hide, and where resilience is created through growing your own food rather than it being delivered on a truck.
As she dives into learning Auslan, sign language that is exquisitely beautiful and expressive, Piper finds herself falling hard for Marley. But Marley, who has grown up in the Deaf community yet is not Deaf, is struggling to find his place in the hearing world. How can they be together?
Future Girl is the art journal of sixteen-year-old Piper, a visual extravaganza of text, paint, collage and drawings, woven into a deeply engaging coming-of-age story set in near-future Melbourne.
anyone here enjoy gardening? 👀and tell me if you’ve read many books with Deaf characters! is this on your tbr?