Epitaph Road

Epitaph Road

Book - 2010
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In 2097, men are a small and controlled minority in a utopian world ruled by women, and fourteen-year-old Kellen must fight to save his father from an outbreak of the virus that killed ninety-seven percent of the male population thirty years earlier.
Publisher: New York : Egmont USA, 2010.
ISBN: 9781606840702
Branch Call Number: TEEN PATNEAU
Characteristics: 266 p. ; 22 cm.


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FindingJane Feb 27, 2017

The shocker of this novel wasn’t really one for me. I found myself highly suspicious of the onset of a plague that targeted precisely one half of the human race and ran its course in only 16 days. Did no one think to question a plague that wiped out only men and periodically surfaced and disappeared for no apparent reason until 30 years after its initial appearance? I figured it had to be the work of bungling males who thought to use Elisha’s Bear (the name of the plague—points if you get the reference without Googling) as biological warfare or angry females. Guess which?

That obvious mystery dispensed with, the reader’s attention centers on young Kellen. And I do mean centers. Kellen admits that the world before Elisha was headed towards disaster. He admits that he wouldn’t want to go back to a world filled with poverty, hunger, crime, disease, greed, dishonesty, prejudice, war, genocide, religious bigotry, runaway population growth, abuse of the environment, immigration strife and you-get-the-leftovers educational policies and a hundred other horrors.

In a society that’s largely female, I expected to find some mention of homosexual relationships, both male and female. I expected to find detailing of just how the world had become better for women or just had become better in general. But the book doesn’t show how the world is better; it merely tells us and in only a few brief passages at that.

The main focus of the book is on Kellen and his adolescent discontent, his nervousness about girls and his wish to live alone with his father. As a male, his future options are limited. He can only get non-threatening jobs like teacher, salesman, therapist, engineer, actor, architect, doctor, dentist, singer, etc. Wow, really? Those are his limited options? Try being limited to being a housewife and then you can complain, you sad little loser.

With all these choices open to him, Kellen’s dearest wish is that he could chuck civilization, run into the hinterlands and live on a fishing boat with dear old Dad. His father is one of those men who escape periodic outbreaks of Elisha by hiding in the woods and Kellen can’t wait to join him. So, instead of staying in civilization where he could make a difference, he wants to run away and live on the water, becoming a hillbilly like Huckleberry Finn.

The person behind the outbreaks is shown as a cold-hearted shrew, a thorough villainess who is childishly nicknamed Mack the Knife. She’s given some motivation for her decision to eradicate the human male population but she’s still portrayed as a cartoonish, one-dimensional nasty piece of work.

The novel doesn’t bother with social commentary once the main mystery is exposed. Kellen learns about another planned outbreak of Elisha and races off to warn his father. This book is like every poorly plotted science fiction movie where the central issue is dispensed or ground up with chase scenes, gunplay and explosions. What a disappointment.

Sep 01, 2013

A unique dystopian that pits the sins of the genders against each other. I fancied the format of the novel. This puts me in the mind of a fictional version of The Lies My Teacher Told Me. Too often we romanticize history and reflect on the outcome rather than the ill-begotten means it took to reach achievement.

Jul 27, 2012

Great writing for teens from a local Northwest writer. Wished it was longer.

Jan 12, 2012

I seriously loved this book! The future in this book was very interesting :) The story was relatively fast, but the story in the beginning was a bit slow. Keep reading until the middle! It'll be awesome! <3

Nov 21, 2011

I'm not a big fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, but I liked this one well enough that I would read a sequel should the author continue with these characters.

The 2012-2013 preliminary Truman nominees had four books in this genre--I thought this was easily the best.

Aug 12, 2011

Enjoyed the plot, but would've liked a longer read. Looking forward to exploring Patneaude's future works.

Jun 18, 2011

Intriguing concept and a great plot. Emotionally and intellectually satisfying to read; highly recommended.

Jul 04, 2010

A wonderful look at a what if future.
Great read for middle school students along with brave new world.


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Jan 12, 2012

b_xy_p thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Aug 12, 2011

GuybraryTech thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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