Who Runs the World?

REVIEW: Who Runs the World? by Virginia Bergin

Sixty years after a virus almost wiped out all the men on the planet, the women of the world have grieved, pulled together and moved on. Life is pretty good if you’re a girl, but not so much if you’re a boy. Fourteen-year-old River wouldn’t know that though, as until she meets Mason, she thought boys were basically extinct.

What Who Runs the World? does very well is that it doesn’t just say men are bad and women are good. Though it makes it very clear that in this world, a lot of violence and crime was committed by men, it also shows that that doesn’t stop women from getting angry or lashing out.

River’s world is one without gender expectations. People are expected to be open, communicate and share their problems and work together to solve any issues. When Mason is discovered it’s clear he comes from a different world, one where from watching porn and playing videos games he has a certain idea of what women should look and act like. River has a certain idea of what men should be like too and seeing their beliefs clash is fascinating.

Mason has been brought up surrounded by toxic masculinity, believing he must be physically strong and it makes him lesser if he cries. River, and other girls and women who have grown up without men, on the other hand has grown up being taught that showing emotions isn’t a weakness and in fact sharing your thoughts and feelings is a good thing.

Kate, River’s great-grandmother, is an interesting character as she remembers life before the virus wiped out the male population. She was a teenager when it happened, so she and other women her age understand the loss of losing their husbands, fathers, brothers and friends and that indeed not all men were dangerous people. She remembers the various social cues that were just there and made men and women act differently. She remembers the good and the bad and now being confronted with Mason gives her some hope that boys and men are out there and can join the society she’s a part of now.

Who Runs the World? is great because it doesn’t just look at gender, it’s also a fast-paced mystery. River, her mother and Kate are all trying to understand where Mason came from and what that means for all the other men and boys that might still be alive somewhere. It would’ve been nice to learn more about where Mason had come from and there’s a lot left up in the air. River’s life has changed by meeting Mason but besides from that there doesn’t seem to be many long-lasting affects from the events in the book. It’s like nothing will get better or get worse in this world, and that River and all the other women are in limbo. 4/5.

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TOP TEN TUESDAY: My Summer TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is technically “Books to Read By the Pool/At the Beach” but as I don’t really read what are commonly considered “beach reads” I’ve turned it into my summer TBR.

I’m planning to take a lot of these books with me to my Dad’s in Spain as that’s where I get a lot of my summer reading done. When this post goes live I will have been at my Dad’s for four days, so I may have actually read some of these books already. But now that’s out of the way, here’s the books I’d like to read over the next few months.

Who Runs the World? by Virginia Bergin
This is a book I bought because of the cover and the title, I mean – how could I not? Besides from that I know very little about it.

Kartography by Kamila Shamsie
I started this book when I first got it last year some time, but I only read the first chapter. I couldn’t really get into it but as someone I know recommended it to me I do want to give it another go.

Nyxia by Scott Reintgen
I got the ARC of this in a subscription box last year. It’s been ages since I’ve read some proper sci-fi and some bloggers I know, and trust really enjoyed it so I think I will probably fly through it.

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