I’m absolutely obsessed with Scarlett Johansson. I think she’s the most gorgeous and talented woman to walk this earth right now (sorry, but Audrey Hepburn will always be my all-time favorite) and I adore every project she does.
So why am I writing this on a book blog, I hear you ask? Because my love (cough obsession) goes so deep that I even read the books that have been turned into films that have her in it. It has nothing to do with Scarlett anymore, but it’s a thing I do.
Usually I watch the film, absolutely love it and then grab the book. However, when I saw the trailer of Under The Skin, I decided to not even try to watch it. It looks too scary, too gorey, too not me. But I can’t give up on Scarlett completely, so I decided to read the book instead.
Under The Skin is written by Michel Faber and tells the story of Isserley, a woman slash outer world creature. She is send to this earth to collect humans for her home planet/world.
Of course, nothing goes to plan and Isserley has to figure out what it means to be human and what it means to be an animal, which is what they call what we would consider humans.
The book is a clear critical look at modern society and the way we treat not only animals, but people we consider less than us. How cruel we can be to each other and how we deal with that cruelty.
I’m very conflicted about this book. On the one hand, I enjoyed it. There is great characterization and you really grow with the narrator. The whole story is from Isserley’s point of view and, even though she has the most unusual job, her thoughts are just like ours. But still not the same, because she’s from a different world. This sounds contradictory, and I guess it is, but the author walks this fine line perfectly and really allows the reader to understand Isserley and thus understand the shocking things she does.
On the other hand, this whole “critical look at society” genre is not my thing. I understand the purpose and I think the critique is completely justified – however, it is not what I enjoy most about reading. When I read a book, I want to escape to a different world. With this book, I felt too connected to “the real world” through all the critique.
Is that a bad thing? No, not at all. I’m sure plenty of readers will really enjoy that. It just wasn’t my cup of tea.
But why would I tell my friends to definitely read it? The ending of the story. I reached the last 20 pages and didn’t get any sense of an ending. It got me curious and anxious (“please tell me this isn’t going to be another lame open ending for a story that so obviously needs a clear ending?!”). But the author gave a satisfying, shocking and amazingly written ending that suited the characters perfectly in just twenty pages. That’s some serious skill.