Now this was an interesting read! This book was selected for the YA Book Club my school runs for its teachers. At first I was very put off by the title and the cover, but I soon came to absolutely love this book.
Maggot Moon is based on a dystopian universe that mirrors the time of World War 2 and the Cold War period. It follows the story of a young man called Standish Treadwell who is considered an anomaly in his society. He thinks differently, looks different, and has dangerous ideas in side his head that could threaten the stability of the society in which he lives. Standish lives with his grandfather after his parents have disappeared from society, and they form a close relationship with their new neighbours. Standish’s friendship with a his neighbour, Hector, is cut soon cut short after his friend mysteriously disappears. He works tirelessly to find his friend and uncover the mystery of over the wall.
When I first started this book it took me a while to comprehend that it was drawing parallels to the 1940s to 1970s (History.com, 2009). The themes of totalitarianism, the notion of re-education, the hints at that the race to space, and the Motherland references are all strong indicators of time period to which Gardner is channelling. Once I got my head around these themes and accepted them as parallels, the plot of the story made much more sense. It became less frustrating and more enjoyable. The reference to people as maggots was particularly graphic and caused me to picture the worst kind of existence possible. In my opinion this novel would make an excellent companion for a history class studying the above mentioned time period. As a history enthusiast, I thoroughly enjoyed this take on World War Two and the Cold War, and have recommended it to other history buffs. My initial reaction when finishing the book for the first time was “wow” and I know that it will be something that I go back to.