Agenda 21 - Glenn Beck, Harriet Parke Where to start? My initial reaction to Agenda 21 reminded me a lot of how The Overton Window (also written by Glenn Beck) made me feel at times. The more I read though, the more intense the story became and the more I wanted to know about the main character. One of the things I really like about Beck’s fictional writing is that he answers your questions. It’s like he anticipates exactly what you’re going to ask yourself or wonder and then he seamlessly answers it.

Agenda 21 follows eighteen-year-old Emmeline in a very controlling society. Imagine living in a world where you are dependent on the government for everything. But it’s not like you can go out and grow your own food if you want; that is illegal. You can’t walk outside unless you have some meaningful place to go (A.K.A. approved and assigned to go somewhere by the Authorities). There aren’t any books, paper, pencils, extra clothes, or extra food in the hands of the Citizens. That is all controlled by the Authorities. You are encouraged to report your neighbors if they make even the smallest mistake. You can’t pick flowers, and you get carried away and are never seen again if you do something as small as accidentally run over a snake while riding your bicycle. Scared yet? It’s creepy stuff like this that scares me when I read Beck’s fictional books. Because it all seems so real and possible and I have to stop and remind myself that I’m reading fiction.

Emmeline is one of the last people to have been raised by their parents; all other children are now raised by the Authorities, or the people assigned by them to work in the Children’s Village. Mother’s don’t even get to hold or see their babies. Emmeline loses everything but somehow manages to find something to work towards in a world where everyone is supposed to be equally miserable.

The book starts off giving us a little background about Emmeline but it’s not boring. In fact, I didn’t want it to end as soon as it did because at the end of it I knew I had to say goodbye to George, her first pair or, in other words, assigned husband. He was a lot older than her (hand it to the government), but he was a good person and respected her. I was fully prepared to dislike him but quickly grew attached.

After losing her husband (who I think she cared about but didn’t really love), she gives birth to her child, Elsa. But she’s lost everything now and suddenly finds herself alone with Jeremy, her second assigned husband. Or maybe I should just call him her second child because that’s how he acted. What a slime ball. I hated him. Thank goodness he didn’t stick around for long.

The story kept moving along at a continuous space and Emmeline finally meets David. Oh, how I love David. He is amazing and easily my favorite character. And, of course, they fall in love. And that’s where the story is all centered around, Elsa and David, because they are Emmeline’s life. She would do anything for them.

I found Emmeline perfectly likable. Her narration wasn’t annoying at all. If anything, her lack of knowledge combined with her personality served to make an already intense story, more gripping. I won’t lie; I didn’t love Emmeline but she makes you love the people she loves and, to me, that is amazing.

David was wonderful and perfect in every way. He loves Emmeline and treats her well. He would do anything for her and all he wants is for her to be happy. Just like Emmeline, I found myself thinking of him as very sturdy, strong, protective, and dependable. I can’t think of one thing about him I don’t like.

The writing is intense. I mean, you never thought a book could be so intense on every single page. I didn’t even realize my body was tense sometimes until I took a breath or looked away from the book. But while the book had a constant level of suspense, etc. it grew and heightened at the perfect points. It was only afterwards that I realized all of this. I literally had to exhale a giant breath when I finished the book. When I realized I only had twenty pages left, I think I actually panicked inside and thought, “You can’t end it now, it’s in the middle of the story.”

The ending was… predictable but it wasn’t a bad predictable. I knew it only had two possible endings but I was really torn between which way Beck would go. I honestly didn’t know until the book had ended. Even when there were only two pages left, I knew Beck well enough to know that it could change very quickly and, while I may be thinking that I’m going to get the ending I want, it could very well end with the other possibility, and I certainly did not want that.

Agenda 21 was great. Even if you're not a fan of Beck, you should give it a chance. It might just blow you away.