Told in alternating viewpoints, The Book of Fred is a coming-of-age story focused mainly on Mary Fred, moved to a foster home after her cultist parents’ views on modern medicine cause two of her brothers to die of curable illnesses. Since Mary Fred was raised in an isolated compound, focused mainly on the teachings of a prophet named, well, Fred, she’s at first astounded by such things as can openers, daytime television, and clothes in colors other than brown. We follow first Mary Fred, then other members of her foster family.
I found this book interesting, but it rarely kept that interest for long periods of time. The concept was interesting but not as well executed as it could have been. I liked the storyline, and the author is good at creating a sense of urgency during “crisis” moments in the book. I felt, however, that the idea of alternating viewpoints wasn’t used to its fullest.
For one thing, I didn’t think each character had an individual voice. At times I lost track of who was the focus of a particular section. Also, each viewpoint rarely introduced any new concepts (except for Uncle Roy, whose chapter contains an interesting twist). If you’re not going to introduce anything new, why not just stick with the same character? Mary Fred was the most interesting one, anyway.
Also, each of the characters was too mature. Uncle Roy in particular. His voice did not fit his actions whatsoever.
Anyways, it’s an interesting book to pick up but not one I plan to reread.