Monday, November 21, 2011

The Future of Us by Jay Asher

The Future of UsThe Future of Us by Jay Asher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's a tried and true theme - boy and girl grew up best friends, grew apart, date someone else, then someone else but secretly pining for one another but don't know it, yet. It's an old recipe but a new approach. It's 1996, fifteen years ago and Emma and Josh stumble onto a website called "Facebook." There are pictures and information of people they know now but in 15 years. Not only can they see the future but they can act upon the future by making choices today and watch their future change with a simple "Refresh" button.

I couldn't help but imagine my high school self looking at my grown-up self and wondering what I might think of my facebook page. I came up with, "Wow. I'm really boring in the future" and "Holy crap! My husband is hot!" and "I'm really boring" again. I'm certain I would stare at those four new faces that haven't been born and wonder what kind of people they will be. Then I'll critique my aging self. But that's more than 15 years.

15 years ago seems like a short amount of time and that nothing has really changed. We've all adapted to the technology (or you wouldn't be reading this review on the Information Superhighway). But in reality, the changes in technology are astounding.

  • Our household had a cell phone but it was the size of a brick. I could not have predicted the number of cell phones in our household now or the size of each of them.
  • We did not have internet access at home except by installing a CD-ROM of AOL of Earth something. It was dial-up and the pages took for.Ev.Er. To. Load.
  • Screen savers of bricks. Need I say more.
  • Graduation from Walkman to Discman. No MP3 players. This aspect was improperly presented in the book. I want to ask the author if he ever tried running with a Discman. The jostling always made it skip even if it was the kind that wasn't supposed to skip.
  • VHS was starting to change over to DVD. VHS was prominent. There was no DVR. People scheduled their VHS recorders to record their favorite shows. Don't mess with it.
  • Back to dial-up, few people had two phone lines. If you were online, no one called in or out.
  • Caller ID hadn't caught on, although it was available in some parts of the country.
  • Telephones were cordless monsters or were attached to the wall.
  • Pay phones were available.
  • People went to the library.
  • And copied on the coin operated copy machine.
  • People still called each other. Texts were not in existence.
  • Email was not the preferred method of communicating.
  • Nobody had a blog.
  • I kept my musings to myself.
Asher writes with humor and realism as Emma and Josh read postings on FB. They discuss how weird it is that people are writing such personal tidbits on a public forum and question why. I ask that one myself. On top of that, they muse about the mundane tasks people post. It made me laugh. What would the 17 year old me think if I read the posting by myself a few weeks ago as I lamented the uselessness of my "bra"cket for holding my cell phone.

I would have been mortified.

Written in alternating voice, Emma and Josh journey down the road of knowing the future, changing the future, and wondering if knowing and changing the future is advisable. I loved Emma's last post on FB. I loved the way Asher pulled the story all together and made it into a meaningful read.

I would rate it PG.
Violence - none
Swearing - name call swearing
Language - minimal to moderate.
Sex - discussed in abstract although language is present.

I won't hide it from my teenagers. I will recommend it to my students.

1 comment:

Kim said...

This sounds like fun, in an uncomfortable way...and I'm all about discomfort.