Book Review: The Age
Set in Vancouver in 1984, as Soviet warships swarm the North Atlantic, The Age follows Gerry, a troubled teenager confronted with her single mom’s newest relationship. When she takes solace in a ragtag group of activists planning a subversive protest at the city’s upcoming peach march, her fascination with the group’s leader, and her struggle with sexual identity creates a rift between Gerry and her best friend, Ian. Bolstered by her grandfather, an eccentric ex-news anchor in the throes of a bitter divorce, Gerry tries to put herself at the centre of the protest group’s violent plot. When the demands of these complex relationship become too difficult, Gerry escapes to the role she knows best, survivor in a post-nuclear dystopia of her own creation. Gerry’s real life and fantasy life alternate and accelerate until a collision of events and consequences forces her towards life or death decisions in both worlds.
veronica | I had such high hopes when I picked up The Age by Nancy Lee and either it was me being distracted by life or the story, but it really took me an age to finish reading. And to be honest, by the end I was relieved it was over.
The Age takes us on a slow trip through the eyes of Gerry, a very conflicted and confused girl on the brink of womanhood. Having been abandoned by her father at a young age, Gerry urgently tries to fit herself into different molds and be who other people want her to be.
The bright spot in this novel is Lee’s ability to weave the main story seamlessly with the aftermath. Both stories combine to paint a vivid picture of the doom to come. It highlights how political and social injustice affects not just adults, but teens as well.
A novel filled with such harsh darkness is lightened with Gerry’s Grandfather, Henry, who while going through his third divorce still finds time to spend with her and tries in his lacklustre way to steer her towards a better path.
The Age is essentially a coming of age novel written for the times as they are now to the extreme. While I do think Lee has written a thought provoking novel, I simply don’t think it’s in my wheel house.