“I want to Live! Not Die, Not Hide, LIVE!” (Jen, Among the Hidden)
Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Among the Hidden (the first book in the Shadow Children series) was our group’s first encounter with dystopian fiction. It was a hit!
In this story, drastic measures have been taken by the government to respond to overpopulation. Among other rules, families are only allowed to have two children and are only allowed to eat certain foods. Luke Garner, the book’s main character is a third child and lives his life hidden in the shadows.
“The Government justifies keeping everyone else in poverty because people seem to work the hardest when they’re right on the edge of survival.” (Jen)
“Sure you can be a coward and hope someone else changes the world for you. You can hide up in that attic of yours until someone knocks on the door and says, ‘Oh, hey, they freed the hidden. Want to come out?’ Is that what you want”
Luke didn’t answer
“You’ve got to come, Luke, or you’ll hate yourself the rest of your life. When you don’t have to hide anymore, even years from now, there’ll always be some small part of you whispering ‘I don’t deserve this. I didn’t fight for it. I’m not worth it.’ And you are, Luke, you are. You’re smart and funny and nice, and you should be living life, instead of being buried alive in that old house of yours” (Jen)
The book brought up questions for us about governments, social action, laws, freedom, and family relationships. We debated and reflected on so many different topics!
We also ate.
First, food for the “regular” people like Luke and his family…plain potatoes and cooked cabbage.
We ate in hidden and solitary spaces like Luke did.
Then, we got to eat Baron food (food that was deemed illegal but that the Barons got to have and eat because of their connections and wealth).
Baron food was so much more fun to eat!
We then took turns being hidden while everyone else got to have fun and play, feeling left out and lonely as Luke would have.
Thanks Travers for hosting! Another great book club in the books!