Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Radicals - Ryan McIlvain

The Radicals
Title: The Radicals
Author: Ryan McIlvain
Publication Date: 2/13/2018
Pages: 320
Genre: Fiction
How I Found It: First to Read website
Date Completed: 1/29/18

Summary: New York graduate students become increasingly embroiled in their protest movement - and it leads them to dangerous ends. 

What I Thought: Honestly, I just didn't like this book all that much. I struggled to get through it. If I hadn't been reading it for First to Read, I probably would not have finished it.

I found the characters all insufferable. There wasn't anything appealing about them to me. Their entitlement made their radicalization feel inauthentic to me. I think in our modern moment of authentic protest driven by diversity, these upper-crust white kid protesters who went back to their comfortable lives between protests grated on me. I do think McIlvain did some of that purposefully. After all, he centers some of the book around his characters protesting on behalf of a Latina woman who is going to lose her home. The characters do seem to wrestle at least a little with how they are actually benifitting this woman. In the end, though, they are willing to sacrifice her needs in order to make a bigger point. Ultimately, their protests are driven by ideals, not the needs of actual people. 

The first two-thirds of the book passed very slowly for me. I just couldn't connect with the characters and struggle to get invested in their crusade or the details of their lives. The climax of the book caught me off guard and did pull me in enough to propel me to the end. I wish more of the book had been like the ending. 

I'm disappointed that I was so disappointed by this book. I can't say I recommend it, though I'm sure there are plenty of other people who will enjoy it more than I did.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Will I Re-Read: No.

A Reduced Review: The insufferable characters and slow plot made this book a struggle to finish. 

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