Suicide Club

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 10 Jul 2018

Member Reviews

This was a fast-paced, interesting read, that I found I did not want to put down! The story is fresh, original and exciting with characters that are realistic and likable.
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Suicide Club had an interesting angle on death, living forever, and euthanasia. I'm not sure how I felt about this book at the end, but it definitely kept me interested to the last page.
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Not for me. In defense of the book, I should have read more of the description before requesting. From the cover and the name I thought it would be a high-school- teen-angst situation. I was not prepared for futuristic NYC and immortality.
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While the premise was interesting, this story just didn't grab my attention the way I had hoped it would. I may try re-reading it in the future, but it lagged in some parts and was a DNF for me.
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Do you ever read a book or watch a movie and know in your heart that it is not good, but you can't help but enjoy it? I'm looking at you, Tokyo Drift. This is the exact opposite of that for me. I know this is good. But I don't know that I really enjoyed reading it. Definitely not until the last half, anyway. And if I don't like the first half of a book, it's really hard for the second half to catch up enough that I'm really going to appreciate it.

The good:
I LIKE this kind of dystopian. Clean, pretty, Seems Like Utopia Until You Look Hard Enough dystopia. I do not love Everyone is Sick and Running Through Rubble dystopia.
The world-building is siiiiiiiiick. Like so good because it's so nuanced. In this world people are obsessed with living forever, and people who live for less than a hundred years (aptly named "sub one-hundreds") are seen as second class citizens and have less than stellar homes and jobs and stuff. "Lifers" have given up art and music and basically do nothing but work and self-improve. SO like in one scene, our narrator goes to the grocery store to buy the ingredients for a salad, and talks about how she may want to indulge in a grapefruit (you know it's fucking dystopian when GRAPEFRUIT is an indulgence, first of all), but they put the fruit on the lowest shelf at the grocery store so everyone will see you bending over and know you're buying fruit and thus you're a worthless monster who doesn't love life or care about longevity enough. This is written just slightly more eloquently in the book but you get the idea. She decides not to spoil herself with a grapefruit until she gets a promotion at work. And the whole scene is so sad and so gross and so weird but it gives you SUCH a good idea of the world without saying too many words and that is impressive gosh darn writing okay.
There ends up being a bizarre af but super welcome and adorable girl friendship and I'm here for it.
There's no romance whatsoever.

The bad:
I don't know what I would have needed, but I'm not connected to any of the characters. I don't really care about the relationship dynamics. The stakes are high but I don't care all that much.
It goes nowhere until it does. There are these huge life-altering things afoot but we have no idea what happens with them and it genuinely seems like it will have no ending until boom an ending is shoved into the last like 10 minutes. Though I will say I did love the ending because it's gross and awful and so am I.

*Thanks to NetGalley for access to this book in exchange for an honest review.
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This book was intriguing, especially with this crazy premise, but the author just couldn't convince me about the protagonist's logic behind her actions. I did not care much about Lea, her urges towards violence/death don't seem like enlightenment but a separate problem in this society.
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It took me a while to read "Suicide Club," this novel about life and death. This dystopian beauty was a heady experience, and I required breaks while reading to think and contemplate what it all meant. Now that I've finished, I'm left still contemplative, and a little sad. It was a meaningful read, and beautiful too. Lea seeped in. Such an interesting debut that tackles a sensitive topic with both finesse and brutality. I'm curious to see what Rachel Heng writes next.
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I struggled to finish this book. Although the concept behind the plot was intriguing, I never quite got into the author's writing style. I would recommend this to others, it just wasn't a good match for me personally.
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Heng's debut novel is reminiscent of Huxley's Brave New World or even Westerfeld's Uglies series in which the social hierarchy is genetically modified to promote perfection. In this case, mortality is seen as a weakness and only those most deserving have the power to live forever. There were good bones here, but the story wasn't fleshed out as nicely as I would have hoped. In this day in age, where we are obsessed with anti-aging, even this book felt superficial to me. I wasn't able to connect with any of the characters and was left with a lot of unanswered questions - one of the biggest being how it was decided who would receive the advancements to become immortal. I did enjoy Heng's writing style and world-building and look forward to seeing what else she has to offer in the future. *Advance copy provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
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I just didn't like this one. It wasn't what I expected I guess. I disliked the characters and how the plot ended up. It took so long to get through and it wasnt worth it for me
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Published by Henry Holt and Co. on July 10, 2018

Suicide Club takes the concept of “pro-life” to its logical extreme by imaging a near future in which severe consequences attach to any behavior that might shorten a lifespan: eating red meat, drinking alcohol, listening to jazz, failing to exercise, exercising too much. Americans are genetically assessed at birth. Those who are designated as “lifers” become vegetarians and meditate daily. They avoid stress because cortisol is harmful, but they don’t run because running is bad for the knees.

As long as lifers return a value to society that exceeds the cost of keeping them alive, they are entitled to enhanced skin and tissues and organs, at least until they reach the end of their allotted extended lifespan, when maintenance is withdrawn and the enhancements begin to atrophy, leaving lifers trapped inside a decaying body that does not easily die. Life extension is an instrument of control; Americans who fear death behave as the government wants them to behave, for fear of losing their enhancements.

Why all of this is true is unclear. The concept is interesting, but the political environment that would allocate life extension is not developed. Governments have a tendency to control their populations and to help the powerful retain power, but all of that would happen naturally as a function of wealth, without government-imposed genetic assessments. One of the novel’s weaknesses is its failure to explore the political conditions that would allow the imagined society to exist.

In any event, Anja’s mother has reached the end of her allotted life extension; having lost her health subsidies, she is lying in bed, waiting but unable to die. Anja turns to the Suicide Club for help because, when enhanced skin and muscles are almost impossible to cut, suicide is a challenge. The government opposes the Suicide Club because, with its low birth rates, American supremacy would be challenged if people choose when to die rather than letting the government decide that they are no longer useful. That premise seems doubtful (if population were the key to supremacy, India would be more powerful than the United States), but I rolled with it for the sake of enjoying the novel.

At the age of 100, Lea Kirino still has her original body. Lea’s father Kaito has been gone for 90 years. He’s regarded as an enemy of the state. Lea works for HealthFin and follows all of society’s rules. Believing she sees her father, or perhaps his ghost, she steps into traffic to cross the street and finds herself placed on an Observation List, her Tender having concluded that she tried to commit suicide. The conformist Lea is thus assigned to the Wecovery group, where she meets the subversive Anja. How that will work out is the dynamic that drives the story.

Suicide Club rests upon intriguing themes. Healthy living, at some point, removes the flavor from life (and from food). What’s the point of living a longer life if the joy of living must be sacrificed? Sex can be risky, but it’s also fun. Taken to its extreme, as this novel suggests, healthy living might preclude attending live concerts (although current thinking is that regular attendance at live concerts actually helps people live longer). As the novel points out, notions about what is or is not healthy regularly change and are often contradictory. Still, America’s most repressive traditions have always held that if something feels good, it must be bad for you and should be forbidden.

As is customary in novels, key characters cast off the assumptions that have driven their lives and discover important truths. At the same time, I can’t say that Rachel Heng made me care whether the key characters lived or died. Anja and Lea are both too lifeless to worry about; they might as well be dead already.

There are times when the plot seems forced, as if it is meant to teach lessons rather than to tell a story. Even the subtitle (A Novel about Living) force-feeds the novel’s lessons to the reader. For those reasons, while Suicide Club is interesting and while Rachel Heng’s writing style makes the novel easy to read, the story falls short of being compelling.

RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS
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The premise was promising and I couldn't wait to read. However, once I started, I could not get into this book. It just didn't grab my attention.
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I read this so fast and all while on a vacation full of activities. Honestly, the journey was more fun than the destination. When it was over, I was also over it. I suppose that is fitting, as I would not want to live in this future. The world is well draw and frightening. I enjoyed the flawed main characters and the suspicious men in their lives.
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First off, I seriously loved the concept behind this story. Secondly, I loved the execution. It’s a very well written dystopian; if you could live forever, would you? And also what cost? I just devoured this book!
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Very interesting take on the near future and the topic of assisted suicide.. The characters very well written and the story was intriguing.. Rachel Heng is a great storyteller.
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This book was so good! I loved the characters, I loved the way the story unfolded. This was such an original idea and it was told with so much love.
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This book seemed to have a slow start and I had trouble connecting with the characters early on; however, I persisted. As a physician, I got very involved in the ideas the author presented of medically- and genetically-induced immortality and the disparity it produced in the population. Overall, I liked it in the end.
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The nearly disaffected tone & technology obsession of Touch mixes with the classist overtones as The Thousandth Floor, in a world where population growth & fertility are low but the chosen are living 150+ years with the expectation that immortals will become reality soon. 

On the outskirts of the cities jam-packed with wealthy & regimented lifers, are the uncared for sub-100’s, those poor souls whose lottery numbers assigned at birth are too low to warrant the extreme measures & replacements promised to the lifers. Due to the sagging population growth suicides are absolutely forbidden and potential victims are monitored closely. 

The MC Lea is shocked on the street when she sees her aging father after 88 years and mistakenly steps in front of traffic and her accident is assumed to be a suicide attempt. In her “treatment” group she meets Anja, who is soon to accept the reigns of a secret activist group trying to help the anti-life-loving population end their lives on their own terms.
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Ugh, this is terrible. I'm behind in my reviews and am writing this two months after I read it, and mostly what I can tell you now is that it clearly didn't leave that much of an impression on me. I remember expecting so much more in terms of big ideas to chew on. It's a pretty good story with pretty good writing, but I wanted a lot more from it. I'd still give Heng another try, however.
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This premise is such a fascinating one and makes an incredible story. It also raises some provocative question about the human race, life, death and immortality. I always love it when an author is clever and creative enough to incorporate deeper topics into the narrative. I appreciate that sort of storyline - the ones that allow the exploration of big questions. 

"Suicide Club" is a science fiction novel that is set in near-future USA. The population is in decline so to combat this people are strongly encouraged to live a super-healthy lifestyle and to get various different body enhancements and replacements. 

Interesting and fabulous read!
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