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"Cat, this is Finn. He's going to be your tutor."
Finn looks and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task is now to tutor Cat. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, Finn is her guardian, her constant companion...and more. But when the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world, and in Cat's heart.
Slow and atmospheric, this book is nostalgia at its finest – the one we feel while looking at our past and our forgotten dreams – except Cat’s nostalgia wraps every part of her life : past, present, future. Readers have been saying that she’s selfish and thoughtless, going through life without never thinking about anyone else than herself, and yes, it’s true. I should hate her for it, and yet, I can’t. I can’t because the way she’s portrayed let me see how much her life seems… pointless to her.
“She felt like a seashell, pretty enough but empty and easily broken.”
When the only path leading to happiness is unthinkable, how to find the strength to care?
A better person might have found it. Cat is not that likeable person, and that fact itself added so much layers to the story. Who wants to read about a perfect character whose choices are always wise? Definitely not me. She uses people’s weaknesses to make her life easier, she lies, cheats and doesn’t think about the consequences of her actions. She’s reckless, and yet, the sense of doom constantly hovering over her head touched me and let me unable to hate her.
“Something inside of her – her calcified heart, her numbness – had cracked in two, and she was trembling and she thought, Here, this, this is what it feels like to feel something.”
Her life is filled with the tragedy of caving in. To the world. To other’s expectations. And while she loses herself along the way, Finn is the only one who can pick up the pieces of her shattered life. At what cost, though?
What makes you human? Is it your ability to love, to hate? Is it your consciousness?
Finn’s character brings all these questions to life – can I just say? He is a fantastic male-lead in my opinion and I’m not even ashamed to say that I fell a little more in love with him each time he made an apparition. Yes, he is an android. He is one of a kind and is crushed by the loneliness of it. His hesitations, his sensibility (yes, I realize how paradoxical it appears) resonated in my heart and made me feel so, so much. I adored him.
But above all that, this book speaks to me because of its undercurrent of pessimism. I know, it seems awful, but hear me out, okay? The way people are portrayed here, the way they act, the way they judge is so realistic unfortunately. Everybody wants to live in a world where differences are not an issue and where everyone respects everyone. If you know this world please tell me where it is, because it’s not the world I’m living in.
No. I’m living in a world where your sexual life, your genre, your job, your appearance, your origin are under the judgment of others, and if I don’t live my life to fulfill these endless expectations, I can’t deny that it is here. However, every day as a teacher I feel hope, and in the end, with Cat’s growth, that’s also what this book gave to me. Hope. It might seem cheesy, but to me there’s nothing more important, even more because my knee-jerks reactions are those of a pessimist.
The Mad Scientist’s Daughter caused such a visceral reaction in me – slowly building from the start, never wavering – that it will keep a special place in my heart. For that, I’m grateful.