Book review – The Test by Sylvain Neuvel

Caidyn's review (1)

The Test

3.5/5

This book was very hyped for me.

Every single review I saw of it was glowing and it talked about how amazing it was and what great social commentary was included in it and all that.

Am I discounting that? Nope. It had a lot of great commentary about the future of immigration and what we expect of minorities coming into our country. Because, this book is set in a not-too-distant Britain with a man, Idir Jalil, sitting for an exam where everything starts going wrong and the test isn’t what it seems.

A huge part of this book is morality. And, if I’ve learned anything from taking philosophy, religious studies, psychology, and social work classes, morals are very relative. Each culture (or country) has their own set of morals that they put above all others. I’m very much for moral relativity, although there are key truths — such as, caring for children — but there are different ways to show it — i.e. spanking vs. not spanking.

And, I found that interesting to see what they were truly measuring. However, my psychology majored ass started analyzing it and trying to look at the test and what was being measured. Which was confusing as hell. This book is a little over 100 pages. There was a lot packed into those 100 pages, so not everything was as well explained as I might have wanted it to.

As I said, is this a bad book? Nope! I found it very enjoyable and interesting. I’d definitely read it again since it was such a short book and I’d probably get more out of it a second time. There was just a lot going on in a short amount of time.

It also didn’t help that I’ve never read Neuvel before. And, I have no clue if that’s how he always writes his dialogue, but I hated it. I hated the way the dialogue was written because it didn’t make sense to me and I had to relearn what was going on. This is an example of the dialogue that I’ve made up and not from the book:

— How are you today?
— Good. You?
— I’m good as well.

Not a great example, but, basically, there’s huge paragraphs with tons of first-person details that feel like someone’s talking to you. But it’s really someone’s thoughts. And the dialogue is as I gave above. No clue as to who’s talking or how they sounded or anything. I couldn’t stand it. So, I’m a bit nervous to jump more into Neuvel’s books if they’re all going to be like that.

In summary, The Test is a good book with a lot going on, but my brain was stuck on trying to figure out the writing style and the actual measurement to enjoy it as much as I wanted to.


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