Friday, September 20, 2013

BLOG TOUR: The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan

Title: The Panopticon
Author: Jenni Fagan
Genre: Adult Fiction
Publisher: William Heinemann
Release Date: Sept. 13/2011
Adquired: Print ARC provided by publisher
Goodreads: ADD

Anais Hendricks, fifteen, is in the back of a police car. She is headed for the Panopticon, a home for chronic young offenders. She can't remember what’s happened, but across town a policewoman lies in a coma and Anais’s school uniform is covered in blood.

Raised in foster care from birth and moved through twenty-three placements before she even turned seven, Anais has been let down by just about every adult she has ever met. Now a counter-culture outlaw, she knows that she can only rely on herself. And yet despite the parade of horrors visited upon her early life, she greets the world with the witty, fierce insight of a survivor.

Anais finds a sense of belonging among the residents of the Panopticon – they form intense bonds, and she soon becomes part of an ad hoc family. Together, they struggle against the adults that keep them confined. When she looks up at the watchtower that looms over the residents though, Anais knows her fate: she is an anonymous part of an experiment, and she always was. Now it seems that the experiment is closing in.

Named one of the best books of the year by the Times Literary Supplement and the Scotsman, The Panopticon is an astonishingly haunting, remarkable debut novel. In language dazzling, energetic and pure, it introduces us to a heartbreaking young heroine and an incredibly assured and outstanding new voice in fiction


My overly programmed brain. I read "15-year-old in the description", and my mind immediately went into that place it goes when it's about to read YA. And then the excessive cursing ensued, so I righted my brain, and we were on the right track again, my brain and I: Adult Fiction it is. And a hell of Adult Fiction book, at that. Have some fluff reads sitting in a pile next to you for when you finish this book, or even during. You will need to read something mindless, and pleasant, after you're done The Panopticon. I received this book later than expected for this tour, and read it in one sitting, to finish it in time, and oh man, how I wish I hadn't done that.

This book wasn't horrible, but it was horrible in the worst way-the story line that is, not one bit of the writing. You need to prepare yourself for things that cannot be unread, and for a narrative that is a bit frustrating to accept initially. We read through Anais's perspective, through her drug-addled brain, and accented dialogue. Words like "cannae," instead of "cannot," "didnae" instead of "didn't". Are you frustrated already? Don't be. I pushed past it, and am pretty sure I'm thankful that I did. Pretty sure, because The Panopticon was of the no-holds barred type. A disastrously unfortunate childhood, a lifetime of punishment, escapism through narcotics, and abuse in all of it's disgusting forms. I loved Jenni's style, her "hell can't hold me back," approach to writing. Her characters were despicable. I hated them, and I wanted them to succeed, especially Anais. The stark reality of every moment, the world Anais lived in within her head-it became more than a drug-trip for me.

You won't find happy endings, or loose ends on the verge of being tied. The Panopticon was a direct view into a world we too often assume is safe, one where abandoned children are taken into loving homes. It's what we all want to believe, and Jenni Fagan wrote a book to remind us that more times than not, the world is an ugly place. And ugly things happen to people that deserve it, but more often to people that don't. I would have liked to read a more rounded story line, but I'm glad I didn't. I understood, before I realized I was understanding, that the author wrote The Panopticon to be just that: a glimpse into reality, told by a young girl who could very well be the mirror personality of some real-life people out there.

I took this book for what it was, and I think that means something new for me, my evolution as a reader. I fought the urge to dislike something I didn't initially understand. My job here is done..

Recommended for Fans of: Controversial Fiction, Dark Fiction, Contemporary, Paranormal, Realistic Fiction, Books about Mental Disorders.


Read Jenni's full bio on her website here!

Contact Links
Website | Twitter Goodreads 


Thank-you to Lisa from TLC Book Tours for hosting this tour, and to Random House for sending me a print ARC to review!

CLICK HERE to follow the rest of the tour

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