|Published in 2004 by Scholastic, Inc.|
This edition published in 2012
Science Fiction / Fantasy
Individuality vs. conformity
Identity vs. access
Freedom vs. controlThese are the themes of Suzanne Weyn's sci-fi thriller The Bar Code Tattoo. This story is set in the future. The year is 2025, and everybody is getting it. They say the bar code tattoo will make life easier, will hook you in, and will become your identity (back cover), but those who refuse to conform risk losing everything, even their lives.
This is not normally a book I would choose to read, but I thought it would be an interesting choice to fulfill the science fiction/fantasy genre requirement for this class. I didn't really care for the book, but once I started it, I wanted to follow through. The plot is typical of this genre. Kayla, the protagonist, a sixteen-year-old teenager, has to make a choice. Will she get the tattoo once she turns seventeen? Her family life is in turmoil; her father has committed suicide, and her mother is addicted to drugs. Everyone around her seems to be conforming, but she has strong reservations about what is happening. Global-1 and ArgoGlobal are taking over the world.
When she chooses not to have the tattoo, her life is turned upside down. She becomes an outcast at her high school, is betrayed by her closest friends, and has to go on the run. After having a vision of a woman named Eutonah, she flees to the mountains for refuge, and the majority of the book is about her journey north. She meets with danger along the way and nearly loses her life when she is shot in the shoulder. Many of the subplots seem unrealistic. For example, she meets old friends from high school along the way that would have no idea of her destination.
I didn't really care for this book; it definitely has a "new age" feel to it. I wasn't surprised to learn that the author is a member of the Fourth Unitarian-Universalist Church in New York. I felt the story line was too predictable. The author merges science fiction with the Bible (The Book of Revelation), telepathy, visions, and mind control. However, students who like reading science fiction might enjoy this book and other books written by this author. I really don't know what else to say about it. I wasn't impressed and would leave it up to my students as to whether or not they would want to read it. It would not be a book that I would recommend, but I do believe there is an audience out there who would enjoy it.
If I had to come up with one adjective to describe this book, it would have to be CREEPY.
Meet Suzanne Weyn