Summary: In a world where women (the Insiders) rule society and men (the Outsiders) are practically an endangered species, hetrosexual love and traditional conception are a thing of the past. Babies are raised to childhood by a care centre to prevent women from bonding too deeply with their daughters, and women have partnerships with other women to provide stable homes to raise their daughters in. When Nora, partner of Alice, comes across a male baby named Adam one day, she is forever changed. Nora makes the choice to tunnel outside the city’s walls to keep Adam from the Insiders. Luckily she runs into Mabon, a young man with a kind heart who is willing to keep Nora and Adam safe at any cost. Adam needs the protection, because he is the only male who still has the ability to procreate and the Insiders want him dead.
Number of Pages: 232
Age Range: 15-17
Review: I love books that present me with new ideas to consider and Hugh MacDonald’s The Last Wild Boy is a great book for that as he explores what a matriarchal society would look like as a backlash to the patriarchal society we live in now. It’s complex, but it works, and MacDonald’s background as the Prince Edward Island Poet Laureate lends to vivid imagery and rich description throughout the book.
It’s an intriguing concept, although I’m still having trouble getting my head around how exactly women managed to overpower men and take over society. That question aside, MacDonald presents his reader with a detailed, dystopian story that highlights the bitterness and sense of injustice women feel over centuries of oppression at the hands of men and the creative, and somewhat disturbing, ways they use to remedy the situation.
My favourite character was Lucky, the dog that bonds with Mabon and Nora and protects them at all times. I have a soft spot for loyal animal characters and he is such a sweet one.
I’d recommend this book for dystopia lovers mid-teens or older. While MacDonald spares us the more grisly details of things like how the men end up becoming infertile, I still think it requires a more experienced reader to fully appreciate it.
“She wasn’t used to this life in the raw, where things were totally outside of her control.” – from The Last Wild Boy by Hugh MacDonald, page 71
“‘That might not be possible,’ said Blanchefleur. ‘She wouldn’t be the same. She might not even wish to return. Something powerful occurred in her mind to allow her to make the decision she did. The moment she decided to flee, she also decided to give up her life with us. The child became more important than you and me and the world we have built.’ She brushed a blonde lock from her daughter’s tear-stained face. ‘The bond between woman and child is a powerful one once accepted.'” – Mayor Blanchefleur from The Last Wild Boy by Hugh MacDonald, page 94
“‘What kind of history is this?’ she asked regularly. She gave her opinion that these were just stories of overgrown boys scurrying across the face of the planet, leaving behind paths of destruction wherever they travelled, and pointed out that they ignored the lives of every woman who had ever lived.” – Nora from The Last Wild Boy by Hugh MacDonald, page 151
“‘You and Adam have read from the old history books. They tell of armies of men that spread like poison clouds across the face of the planet. People’s lives were worth nothing. It was the men that did this – to one another, to women and children and the old. And these were men who had children of their own, men who loved their own women and their own old ones. How could that happen, if they weren’t inherently dangerous?’ Mabon shook his head in dismay. ‘There are things in us that I’ll never understand.'” – Mabon from The Last Wild Boy by Hugh MacDonald, page 153