The Panopticon is a novel written by author Jenni Fagan, It is an excellently written dystopian type novel that has become quite popular since its debut in 2012. The novel focuses on teenager Anais Hendricks and her struggles with foster care, the law and life in general. The book is actually named for the rehabilitation center the Panopticon, which is located within the depths of a forest. This center houses kids of all ages, and is for chronic young offenders. Anais is sent there because she is accused of beating a policewoman and putting her in a coma, though she claims she cannot remember anything that happened. The novel tells of her time at the Panopticon, the friendships she makes, and it touches on her past as well.
I actually really enjoyed this book. It was wonderfully written. It was compelling, suspenseful and emotional. The language, prose and rhetoric was exceptional, which added to my overall enjoyment. There was quite a bit of drug use (acid trips, pot, etc.) that Anais used as a coping mechanism and some language and unpleasant sexual encounters so I would recommend it for older teens as well as adults, but not for a younger audience. I love how the main protagonist (Anais) is so strong and even though she has undergone so much hurt and pain in her life, she is still fighting. There are times when she doubts reality, and she says some pretty strange things, but I think that just adds to the uniqueness of the book. All in all, I greatly enjoyed this book. It was different that a lot of books I have read in the past few years, and to me that was refreshing. It was emotionally gripping, and not an easy read, but I recommend it to all older readers who enjoy reading something new.
“I dinnae get people, like they all want to be watched, to be seen, like all the time. They put up their pictures online and let people they dinnae like look at them! And people they’ve never met as well, and they all pretend tae be shinier than they are – and some are even posting on like four sites; their bosses are watching them at work, the cameras watch them on the bus, and on the train, and in Boots, and even outside the chip shop. Then even at home – they’re going online to look and see who they can watch, and to check who’s watching them!” (Jenni Fagan)
Note: I received this book for free from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review.