Pure — book review

PURE by Julianna Baggott. Headline £14.99

Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins

The Detonations came and left the Wretches in the wreckage. The people outside the protective Dome were fused to whatever they were touching at the time. Pressia now has a doll’s head where her hand used to be. She lives in fear and envy of the Pures – those who were lucky enough to get into the Dome – and it is unclear whether the past or present is more haunting to her. Hers is a study of the burden that is survival.

Partridge is on the other side. He is a Pure, but like Pressia his past and present are not as clear as they should be. He knows there is something wrong and dark about the Dome and he does what no Pure has done before – he leaves. But a Pure can’t expect to walk into the world and not become tainted by life among the Wretches. He finds some of his answers but the price is permanent.

Pure was like nothing I have ever read before and that was a good thing. This is an eerie interpretation of a possible future earth, but this book has something more to say than most post-apocalyptic stories. It explores so many relevant issues and evokes a strong sense of a divided community that we can all relate to through the eyes of the various viewpoint characters.

This book is disturbingly beautiful in its imagery and descriptively poetic in its depiction of pain and struggle in a complex society. For those reasons Pure was a compelling and almost hypnotic read.