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Candor: 06/02/17

Candor  by Pam Bachorz

Candor by Pam Bachorz is about the perfect self sufficient suburb in Florida. Once swampland, it's now the place that every self respecting family wants to live. It's the place where trouble teens become model citizens, where the addicted can finally kick the habit. Oscar Banks, though, knows the truth behind the miracles. He knows about the brainwashing — the 24/7 messages. He's the mayor's son.

Candor is utopia — a "no place" — completely cut off from the rest of the world. It is totalitarian, hiding away from the rest of the United States, away from unhealthy influences. It is Pleasantville.

As Oscar narrates he lets us know that the messages are inescapable, even if he thinks he has found a way to keep his mind clear of them. He believes his own counterculture of bootleg messages, which he sells to other teens for a hefty price, will allow him the freedom to be himself.

Like any hero in a dystopian novel, he's mistaken. He is as much a cog in the works as anyone else. How long he can last is all dependent on how much of a fanatic his father is.

In terms of the road narrative project, Candor is a road not taken. People who arrive have one of three options. First they shunned and moved out of the town as quickly as possible (as the undesirable who aren't even showed a model home when they come to visit Candor). Second, they are assimilated. Third, the free thinkers are destroyed.

Four stars

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