Book Review: 5 to 1, Holly Bodger (2015)

Friday, May 15th, 2015

“…bone, once broken, never heals the same.”

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review though NetGalley. Also, trigger warning for rape.)

Although his words put me on a pedestal,
his eyes make me
the stool he’d use
to ascend there himself.

They’d already lived in Hell. How could this new country possibly be worse?

The year is 2054, and the walled city of Koyanagar is all of twelve years old. Its birth is steeped in the blood of children – the millions of girls killed prior to its inception, and the thousands of boys sacrificed to its ideals since.

In order to halt its population growth, India instituted a one-child policy at the turn of the century, ushering in an era of sex-selective abortion and gender-based infanticide. In less than fifty years, the devaluation of girls led to a sex ratio of 5 to 1 – five boys for every one girl. Girls became a precious commodity to be bought, sold – and stolen. Tired of the war on women, and in a bid to make marriage more equitable, the women of Koyanager appealed to the Prime Minister, demanding that he reverse India’s destructive policies. When he laughed in their faces, they returned to Koyanagar, separated it from the outside world with a wall (and plenty of boys and men to guard it), and instituted their own form of government: a matriarchy every bit as oppressive and tyrannical as the patriarchy which inspired it.

(More below the fold…)