All These Things I’ve Done
by Gabrielle Zevin
I’ve had this book for years. I got it as a gift quite a while ago. I liked the YA futuristic approach but never thought about this book as a part of a series I would like to read some day. It was only a book I became interested in after I read another book by the same author – The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. I loved the bookish components of that book and it’s plot. – the main character is a quirky book store owner and each chapter had a sort of review of a short story by a different author. I love short stories and I thought it was beautifully written book. The way it was written spoke to me about authors passion toward books and stories and I loved it! The reason I picked up this book to read was that it fit to my Summer reading challenge 2019.
You can check out my review on The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry HERE.
All These Things I’ve Done is first book of the Birthright trilogy. It is a young adult sort of dystopian story of a sixteen year old daughter of a “crime lord” family that is in the business of producing and dealing chocolate. The story is set in a 2083 New York with a bleak setting of a world where chocolate is illegal but the alcohol is not! Main character Anya or Annie is going to a private high school and describes herself as a good catholic girl. Both of her parents are dead, her guardian is a grandma that is practically on her deathbed, her older brother is suffering from brain injury from an accident her mother died in and her younger sister is a naive romantic plagued with nightmares after witnessing her fathers death. This story is so full of angst and the title refers to all the things Anya does while she takes care of her family.
In Anya’s world chocolate and coffee are illegal and are described as a drug inducing elements. These are not the only things that make Anya’s world depressing – the plants, animals are scarce, museums and historical locations are sold and turned into clubs and bars, information and communication is heavily taxed and water is billed my literal drops which makes showers rare commodity.
The characters are extremely likable – even the villainous ones!
Story is written from Anya’s point of view and she often talks from narrators perspective to the reader with sarcastic remarks. Her Daddy quotes provide a long list of wise sayings and witty remarks I loved reading and I even had to write some for future contemplation.
“Daddy used to say that calling a person a romantic was just another way of saying he or she acted without regard for conseqences.”
“Tragedy is when someone ends up dead. Everything else is just a bump in the road. For the record, that was something Daddy used to say.”
“It’s a weakness to apologize before hearing what the other person’s grievances are. You don’t want to end up creating new grievances where there were none to begin with. Another Daddy-ism, if you hadn’t already guessed.”
“Daddy always said that an option that you know to have a bad outcome is only a fool’s option, i.e., not an option at all. And I liked to think that Daddy hadn’t raised a fool.”
I have no idea where I’m going to find next two books from this series but I consider them definitely worth my reading time. At times the plot reminded me of being invested in a Spanish soap opera with lots of characters who scheme all the time and tragic underdog heroes with religion as a prominent guide to favorable outcome. The religious point would normally annoy me but for some reason it fit to the characters and the story nicely. The drama, tragedy and angst made this book a riveting read and completely surprised me with intricate plots and enigmatic character motivation.