n this page-turning contemporary thriller, National Book Award Finalist, Printz Award winner, and New York Times bestselling author Paolo Bacigalupi explores the timely issue of how public information is distorted for monetary gain, and how those who exploit it must be stopped.
Everything Alix knows about her life is a lie. At least that’s what a mysterious young man who’s stalking her keeps saying. But then she begins investigating the disturbing claims he makes against her father. Could her dad really be at the helm of a firm that distorts the truth and covers up wrongdoing by hugely profitable corporations that have allowed innocent victims to die? Is it possible that her father is the bad guy, and that the undeniably alluring criminal who calls himself Moses–and his radical band of teen activists–is right? Alix has to make a choice, and time is running out, but can she truly risk everything and blow the whistle on the man who loves her and raised her?
Description taken from Goodreads.
The road trip through a story is never quite smooth. There are ups and downs, feels and sometimes plotholes.
Plot holes. THIS STORY HAS THEM.
And many other things. You know, when I was reading this book I went into it thinking SHIP BREAKER or THE DROWNED CITIES (Bacigalupi’s other books). Both SHIP BREAKER and THE DROWNED CITIES were both awesome books with great plot, unique premise and characters, good writing and more. Bacigalupi has a very unique and entertaining voice that brings life to the settings in his stories.
I couldn’t find that voice in THE DOUBT FACTORY.
This book actually starts out really well. I loved the suspense and mystery themes. It almost reads like WATCHED by C.J. Lyons, except without many inappropriate aspects. It’s later on in the book that problems start arising. There’s speculation as to why Bacigalupi wrote this book, but what I’ve heard–and how THE DOUBT FACTORY reads–all point to the idea that this is a book with an agenda.
When people say book with an agenda, they mean that the author is trying to accomplish something by writing a certain story. Similarly, there’s movies with agendas, music with agendas, and so on. THE DOUBT FACTORY’s agenda is to spread the word about false advertising. Like Louis Sachar’s THE CARDTURNER, I felt great for the author because this a story and a cause they clearly care a lot about–but I don’t think it was executed the way that the particular cause deserves. Writers need to write what they want to write, the true stories in their minds, and I feel like this book just didn’t come as easily to both Bacigalupi or the reader.
Just to clarify, books with agendas are not all bad books. In fact, many of them are. A popular example is Cory Doctorow. Most of his books are books with agendas, and they cover their topics very well. Books with agendas are not written for lack of caring–it’s actually quite the opposite, I believe, but at the same time I think that these stories are just not the kind that come easily to people. Trying to make a cause into a book can be extremely difficult. Story writing in general is extremely difficult, so I commend Bacigalupi for attempting THE DOUBT FACTORY.
The thing is though, THE DOUBT FACTORY just didn’t work for me. The plot and pace were entirely unbelievable and the writing was definitely nowhere near the best that I’ve ever read. Nowhere, if you catch my drift. The logic is based on nothing, brand names are mentioned every other sentence and the characters were one-dimensional and flawed as well as entirely unrealistic. I really wanted to like this book, and I think with a little bit of straightening-out of plot this could be an amazing movie. However, the book just didn’t do it for me and I would not recommend it. (Please do go try Bacigalupi’s other books though! Such good writing, great characters and unique premise). 1 star.
pg count for the hardback: 496