Hazards of Time Travel

I was wandering through the shelves at work looking for a book to add to our Blind Date with a Book display when I saw this book faced out.

I was instantly interested and added it to my to-read list. I’ve never read anything else by Joyce Carol Oates, but her name is familiar to me.

In Hazards of Time Travel, Adriane Stohl has pushed the limits one too many times, and now she faces the consequences. Set in a dystopian world where the government doesn’t allow questions, Adriane’s valedictorian speech for her high school graduation earns her a one-way ticket to exile– in Wainscotia, Wisconsin, 1959.

Adriane is giving strict instructions not to reveal herself or any future knowledge, nor get involved with anyone else there, or else she will be Deleted. Enrolled in the local college, Adriane must learn to adapt to her new life, and to do it alone. When faced with the choice, will Adriane choose obedience or love? Is she willing to risk everything, her very life and the memory of herself, for the chance at something better?

When I first grabbed this book, I thought it was going to be a little more scientific, or rather science-fictional. But this was definitely more of a coming of age love story.

After my initial disenchantment, I enjoyed the book a lot. Oates writes in the voice of a confused young woman trying to figure out who she ought to be in a foreign world. She longs desperately for someone who can know and understand her, but she’s terrified of making a wrong move. Oates writes a compelling story and characters you can relate to.

She also offers a look at where our world could be going, I think, if we continue down a path of paranoia and technological advancement. Oates’ future is essentially a military state, where you toe the line and keep your head down, being as average as possible.

I’m definitely interested in reading more of Oates’ work, and Hazards of Time Travel is definitely a book I’ll recommend.

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