Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalu
One-hundred years in our future the world as we know it will be partially submerged by the ravages of global warming and the consequences will be a greater disparity between rich and poor than we now know. The world of young teen Nailer and his ship-breaker crew is one of hard work, scrabbling for jobs, food, shelter and luck. Living on ‘Bright Sands’ beach (not far from New Orleans which has been underwater for decades) Nailer almost drowns in oil while working inside an old rusted tanker. His narrow escape begins a series of “lucky” and terrifying events.
My skin crawled as I read about the lives of these children who were uneducated and in many cases left to fend for themselves in a hostile world where there was little or no charity. This is the way people used to live in the past; not the way Americans think of their great-grandchildren having to survive! But the current economic conditions, weather patterns, and lack political compromise leads me to believe this might indeed be a picture of the future. In other words, the kids are doomed unless something changes.
This book does not draw these conclusions for the readers and I doubt that the teens who read this will feel the way I do after finishing the book. The ending leaves some room for wondering if the author will follow up with a sequel or just leave it for us to imagine what might happen next.