I finally finished PopCo this morning, it was an interesting book. Billed as a book about the toy industry, it isn’t really, yes the main character Alice works for the toy company PopCo but it’s so much more than that. It’s about cryptography, maths, how bloody horrible it is to be 11 and trying to fit into your new school, veganism and anti-consumerism. I can’t really say anything more about the plot because to do so would be giving at least something away. It raises some interesting points about consumerism and the final solution offered in the book, you have to wonder whether it really was ethical considering this global financial chaos we are now in and whether organisations like the ones described in the book really do exist. A good read if you’re a fan of Naomi Klein. I’ve also read Scarlett Thomas’ The End of Mr. Y and I did think PopCo was better, if anything because The End of Mr. Y got a bit too weird at the end.
Reading this has made me very curious about Scarlett Thomas as an author, there a few interesting bits about her on the web, notably her myspace page with the apt url of http://www.myspace.com/isadisgrace, there’s also an interview with her here. She comes across very intensely, just like her books.
Reading PopCo has been a good lesson though from a writing perspective, Alice narrates the story from an adult perspective and of that of a child’s and Thomas gets miserable, loner 11 year old so right, yet doesn’t distort the voice so much that it doesn’t sound like the adult Alice is a too different person. Nicola Morgan’s blog Help! I NEED a Publisher! had a good post on voice recently.