Robert Blake Whitehill, Author/Screenwriter – The Ben Blackshaw Series
A Sobering Dystopian Myth Based on History and Current Events
I was given a copy of the audiobook version of The Divide Boxed Set: Darkness Descends & The Between Times in return for an honest review. First, this set of stories is a dystopian myth based on actual historical and current political events in the United States.
Before reading this book, I was only marginally aware of some of the issues raised in it. I knew, for example, about the elite’s opposition to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s policies. I did not, however, know the full extent of their opposition and what occurred within the government itself. The author draws upon her own family’s experience and research around the rise of the oligarchy in our country and weaves this into the backdrop of her story. It was an eye-opener to me because much of what is revealed is not typically taught in basic high school US History classes or even 100 level college courses. That left this reader wondering if this real-world curricular omission was by design because it is so important. Bishop’s narrative explained a lot, and the implications were horrifying.
The author weaves a deeply disturbing cautionary tale that serves as a warning for us all. In some ways, The Divide is like other books in the genre such as Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, in that it is dark and portrays one potential outcome if our country continues on its current path. This book is different, however, in one important way. Bishop craftily reminds us that the horrific future she describes isn’t really much of a departure from the darker chapters of our own history. That fact alone chilled me to the core. Her future isn’t just plausible. It’s lurking just beneath the surface of our real-world present.
Admittedly, parts of this book were hard to listen to, and some depictions left my heart thumping as my mind made connections between the story and current and historical events. That said, it was enthralling, and I could not stop listening. By the end, I wanted to send copies to all the young people in my life so they understand the implications as well.
Even in its darkness, the story is a tale of hope through unity. In the story, a young family is living on the cusp of a fascist takeover in its government and society. The family is of mixed descent and race and serves as a metaphor for our country in that way. Their ancient culture has a prophecy involving the rise of a child who will bring about change through unity, and the family believes the child is their own daughter. This is especially troubling because the fascist regime has relegated women to the status of breeding stock, and teaching a girl to read has become a crime punishable by death.
This book will stay with you, and its message will spring form its pages and into your life as you make connections between the story and our lives today. In an interesting parallel, as reached the end of the audiobook, Greta Thunberg was arriving in the United States, and the power and wisdom of our youth were palpable in the air as demonstrations sprang up across the globe. It gave me hope that the prophecy might be real too.
A.J. Carter narrated the audiobook version of this story, and I felt he did a good job with it. His voice was smooth and almost hypnotic. The production quality was excellent.