Sunday, April 28, 2013

Breathe by Sarah Crossan

What would happen if the world ran out of oxygen? Would we be prepared? Would we all die off? The book Breathe by Sarah Crossan tells a story about life after oxygen. "The switch" began many years ago when all humans were required to move into a dome. This was the only way to produce oxygen and the only way to save the human race. The world's population grew faster and larger than anyone ever expected. This created many problems with resources. Trees in particular were being cut down and not replenished. The land the trees used to be on was used for farming. The only problem was, with no trees, there was a significant loss of oxygen. It only took a few years for the oxygen level to drop to four percent.

With a large population, but not enough oxygen to keep them alive, the government had to think of something drastic. They created a dome that would house the survivors and produce oxygen to keep humans alive. When the switch began, the "most deserving" people were allowed in first. These people included doctors, politicians, and judges. After these individuals were safely moved into the dome, the government created a lottery. Random individuals under the age of thirty were selected at random to also live in the pod. The government did not mean for this to be a permanent place. It was only to be used until the oxygen levels rose enough so that people could live outside again. Unfortunately, this took much longer than planned.

Imagine what life would be like in the pod. In the story, the pod was divided into three sections. Section one was the nicest. It resmbled much how the Earth used to before the oxygen levels decreased. Everything was nicely taken care of. Section two was a little less nice and section three was much like a ghetto. People were tightly packed into apartments in section three and there was little sunlight. Section three was depressing.  Use of physical activities were limited because too much oxygen would be used if people did constant physical activities.  Exercise and even sex had regulations so that oxygen would not be wasted. 
The people inside of the pod were allowed to leave and explore what was on the outside for a limited time.  They had to go through a process of having air tanks and identification just to be able to go outside of the pod.  The main characters in the book decided to leave the pod for a few days to explore.  What used to be all beautiful and green is now dried up and ugly.  Everything looks so different now that the oxygen level has depleted and there is no one to care for it.  Life as it used to be will never be the same again.
Oxygen is essential to human life.  This book is a great read for our youth so they know how important it is to preserve oxygen.  Our population is rising and our resources are decreasing.  This book paints a pretty good picture as to what the world will be like if we continue how we are going. 


Alexandra Klitz said...

I love the post-apocalyptic sub-genre. I think it is especially interesting when the apocalypse is human inflicted like in this novel. It reminds me some of Brave New World where people are forced to live a part from nature. It also reminds me of The Lorax but gives a far harsher consequence to abusing nature.

Vincent Restivo said...

Based on your review this seems like a very interesting book, I'll admit at first I was not interested in the book but as you sold it with ideas such as class distinction in the bubble and the collapse of society I got hooked into looking at this book as a interesting prospective read.

My main question is how the story is developed and told because you don't explicitly say and it seems as though the voice is simply omniscient.