The Girl with All the Gifts

May 6, 2016
The Girl with All the Gifts Book Cover The Girl with All the Gifts
M. R. Carey
June 19th, 2014

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her "our little genius."

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

(via Goodreads)

This would have been the 62nd book I’ve read this year. Not too bad for progress as of early May. However, I had to stop reading it. The first Did Not Finish (DNF) of a book I REALLY wanted to read.

The Girl with All the Gifts is a book where the less you know about the book going into it, the better. Everyone I know who has read it has been fascinated by it. I adore the pacing and I love the character development. I’m definitely hooked. We just have one problem: This book contains descriptive violence.

For those who know me in person, The Girl With All The Gifts Faintingyou might know that I have a phobic-type reaction to when things that should be on the inside are suddenly on the outside. For example, I passed out once in a tiny pool of my own blood after slicing my finger cutting an apple. Or, I threw up and passed out when I witnessed a gentleman WALK into the ER ON HIS OWN VOLITION with a piece of rebar in his quadricep (But, I feel validated in that reaction).

This reaction even passes reality and into fiction. A_Spot_of_BotherFor example, I was once reading A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon. At one point in the book, the main character is having a mental breakdown , and confuses a rash on his leg with a tumor. So, obviously, he grabs a pair of scissors and cuts it out of his own leg in the shower. This caused me to hyperventilate and then throw up in a doggy bag on an airplane still sitting at the gate. Talk about an awkward way to start a flight. For some reason, by seat partner thought I was hung over. Huh.

Unfortunately, I have now experienced this horrible sensation twice in the first 20% of The Girl with All the Gifts. Once I merely fainted for a moment, then skimmed through the rest of the section. When I hit a later moment, about 20% through the book, I had to skedaddle to the bathroom. I am embarrassed to say that I am not strong enough to complete this book. I just don’t have the constitution for it. And I really want to finish it.

For those of you who don’t care about spoilers, or who don’t seem to mind knowing more about this book than everyone suggests (which is next to nothing), here is where I struggled: First, when our scientist, Dr. Caldwell is slicing apart a child who has received no anesthetic to remove their brain and discect it. That was the passing out. The moment that stopped it for me was when the Hungeries attacked the base. Melanie begins to eat one of the Junkers– and it’s very well described. ..Oh boy. I might need a second here…

Even more a shame, The Girl with All the Gifts was also going to satisfy two reading challenge needs this year. One was from the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge– and that was a Horror book. I knew I’d struggle with this category, and I hope to find something less violent to replace it with. The other is from the PopSugar challenge; read a book that’s becoming a movie this year. While I will never see the movie, I thought I might be able to read it. Alas. But you should certainly see it!

Any suggestions for how I fill these gaps?

Reading Lolita in TehranThis year, I had one other book I DNF’d: Reading Lolita in Tehran. I stopped reading this book more due to mental capacity, rather than interest. I was just incredibly busy and a bit overworked, so I didn’t have the mental energy to keep reading. I know I’ll pick it up again someday as I find the premise is fascinating. However, I don’t know if I’ll ever pick up The Girl with All the Gifts again, and that makes me sad.

Even though I didn’t finish this book, I strongly recommend this book to anyone who likes Thrillers or Horror. Seriously. Read it. Tell me how much you loved it. I’m okay being sad over this.

Some people don’t DNF, and they push through. Others DNF frequently. I’m curious: How do you feel about DNF’d books?

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