From the book club: The Wayward Pines Trilogy by Blake Crouch

Here’s a new book reading segment that will appear here from time to time. I recently joined a book club and so I’ve been doing some extra reading and actually getting to sit down face-to-face with other people to talk BOOKS!

Truthfully I don’t think I’m going to do my traditional book review format with these (but I might change my mind). I think I’d rather just do a short discussion and perhaps interesting talking points from our discussion.

First up!

The Wayward Pines Trilogy by Blake Crouch. This series of thrillers gives a reader plenty to think about as it explores the concept of making decisions for other people and deciding what is best for someone else.

The stories follow the journey of Ethan Burke as he finds himself in Wayward Pines, Idaho and tries to figure out what in the world is going on in this strange small town that seems to be stuck somewhere in 1950. As Ethan works to uncover the truth, he finds that the truth is far more bizarre than he could have dreamed up on his own.

The biggest thread in this story that I found myself pondering was the morality of choosing a life for other people without their consent. Is there a moral obligation to inform people fully of what they’re entering or have found themselves in? Or is there a moral obligation to keep certain information from people in order to help them maintain their sanity? Especially when previous evidence shows that the truth results in less than desirable outcomes?

What about you? Would you rather live in a happy lie or with knowledge of the full, terrifying truth?

Our group was actually split in their answers–some felt the happy lie would be better and others felt that a life lived in a lie is no life at all. The trouble comes in, though, with maintaining the lie in a believable way (and really, I think Pam has a lot to do with the inability to maintain the happy lie, but I digress). It’s very hard to maintain a lie for a long time. The truth always seems to find a way out and the repercussions may be less than optimal. And when the truth is known by some but not others, how can a cohesive living situation continue? There will always be those content with the lie and those totally discontent with it.

I think that Crouch does a wonderful job of exploring this topic through various characters and staying within that somewhat moral grey area with many characters. No one is perfect and certain decisions they made previously have serious and significant impacts on the future story as it’s told. I find the interplay fascinating and managed to read all three within just a few days (I showed up at the book club behind–they were going to discuss books 2 and 3, so clearly I needed to read book 1 as well). These are ideas that really wormed their way into my mind and I spent a great deal of time considering the theme and what I might do in the different positions of various characters.

I highly recommend this trilogy. It was a delightful read and I expect I’ll read it again knowing the ending to see what kinds of Easter eggs are sprinkled throughout that I missed the first time but will catch the next time.

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