The Girl With All the Gifts, by M.R Carey, is a book that was recommended to me by my work colleague and good friend Clare (better known as A Book and Tea). The story follows 10 year old Melanie. Melanie is not a regular young girl though, she is in fact one of the zombie-like creatures known as ‘hungries’.
This is not your typical ‘let’s run away from all the zombie’s’ book. The story focuses on Melanie’s innate passion for knowledge, her infatuation with her teacher, Helen Justineau, as well as her realisation that she’s not quite the same as anyone else.
The tempo of the book is quite fast-paced. There were one or two parts during which I found it lagging slighty – but I pushed on through! Whilst the point of view is mainly told through Melanie’s eyes, we also get short glimpses into the inner thoughts of other characters; Helen, Sergeant Parks, Dr Caldwell and Private Gallagher. What got to me was my feeling’s for each of the characters. Going into it I assumed that I would feel apprehension towards the ‘zombie’ and a connection to the humans. Well flip that on it’s head.
Carey’s clever construction of his characters meant that while I wanted to swaddle Melanie in a blanket and protect her innocent little self, I consistently restrained from mentally giving Sergeant Parks a classic Gibbs head slap (see this video for reference).
With Caldwell being a doctor, I braced myself for some medical lingo to be dotted throughout the book. What surprised me most was just how much there was! This book reminded me a lot of that episode of FRIENDS where Joey uses a thesaurus on every word in a letter and comes up with the following:
It felt like every other paragraph had a word in it that I had to stop, pull up my iPad and Wikipedia… which made my reading rhythm feel incredibly stilted! It’s probably the main reason that it took me a while to get through.
The book has been adapted for the big screen, with Gemma Arterton and Glenn Close among the cast. I don’t know how I feel about it yet, it looks like they’ve just gone total gore-fest on the story to me…I’ll still go and watch it though!
The Girl With all the Gifts is due for release on 3rd September 2016.