Friday, March 10, 2017

Gold Fame Citrus - Claire Vaye Watkins

Gold Fame Citrus
Title: Gold Fame Citrus
Author: Claire Vaye Watkins
Publication Date: 9/29/15
Pages: 339
How I Found It: I feel like a lot of people were reading this last year
Date Completed: 2/20/17

Summary: Luz and Ray are trying to survive in the barren climate that was once California. The West has become a wasteland from which there are few escapes. When a child enters their life, they decide they must find one of those escapes.

What I Thought: This book really was not what I was expecting in a lot of ways. I didn't hate it, but I also did not really enjoy it very much. I found Luz to be an unsympathetic character. She clearly had major issues she was working through, but I struggled to care about them. I liked Ray's character but there simply was not enough of him. 

I think the concept of this book is really interesting. I like the idea, but the execution was not up my alley. I can see why so many people like this book, but it just wasn't really for me. For one thing, there was a good amount of fairly graphic sexual content in the second half. I've made my stance on this well known. I don't mind it being there, but I want it to be serving a purpose. While I can understand some of what was there, most of it felt unnecessarily gratuitous to me. 

My favorite part of the book is the title, actually. It's a reference to all the things for which people have come to California over the years. First, gold. .Then, fame. Then, the last of the citrus. Now, in this barren dystopia, there is nothing left to come for, so they are leaving. I loved that. I thought it was really clever and a great title. 

Mostly, this book made me sad. Often, we read dystopian novels and a hero(ine) rises from the chaos and ashes to fight back. This is not that story. This is the ordinary people suffering under the new normal who have no escape and no way to fight back. They are not heroes; they are victims. They are doing what they can to survive and room for little else. The ending solidifies that. I think the appeal of dystopian books is often imagining ourselves as that hero(ine). It's hard to reconcile with the reality that most of us would be Luz and Ray instead. 

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: No

A Reduced Review: This hero-less dystopia left me sad and hoping for more with which I could connect. 


  1. I started this one, but it just seemed like it was taking forever to get started. I didn't throw it across the room in disgust, so maybe I should get around to finishing it.

    1. Eh. I don't think you're missing THAT much. If you didn't like the beginning, I don't feel like it gets much different or better than that.