Utopia? Bring it on.

I confess: I mostly gobbled up (oops, that pun was not intended!) the Hunger Game series right along with my kids and attempted to get into the Legend series (heavy skimming on that one). But whenever I’ve read one of those books I’ve frequently found myself wondering why we’re so obsessed with dystopian fiction.

This recent article in Time Magazine wonders the same thing. Their short answer: there’s no tension in Utopia and earlier books that imagined ideal worlds typically had little exposure to the reality of technology’s impact.

Fair enough. But I would still love to read something where everything works out more or less, instead of technology = horror. There are a few options in the Time article, but I confess that I probably won’t be picking up the 1516 classic that started it all any time soon.

My own vision of Utopia can be found in the 1940s books by Elizabeth Enright about the always intrepid Melendy kids. 

Who doesn’t want to be a Melendy???

I read those when I was a child and then again to my own kids. And although their lives were far from perfect—they are set in WWII-era New York City and upstate New York and do (though rather lightly) acknowledge things like the war and child abuse—they captured a relatively carefree childhood where strangers were just friends you hadn’t yet met and a babbling brook was a great place to spend a sunny summer afternoon. 

With the hurricanes, fires and mass shootings of recent months, a little Utopia is right up my alley. I know what I’ll be (re)reading next.

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Vicky Franchino

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